Trust Fosters Provincial Growth Fund Backing

DATE 10 July 2019    

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ECT Trustee Ailsa Cuthbert at the Provincial Growth Fund Matai Lab funding announcement.

Regional backing by the Eastland Community Trust continues to foster investment by Government’s Provincial Growth Fund.

The Provincial Development Unit announced yesterday that three entities - Aotearoa Social Enterprise Trust (ASET), Matai Lab and the Prime Wood Cluster Centre of Excellence (Prime) - would receive $27.1 million dollars of PGF backing, alongside $18.25 m from ECT.

ASET will receive $250k from ECT and $2.2m from the PGF. Matai will receive $1m from ECT alongside $6m from the PGF.

Last year the PGF released $500k of $20m earmarked for Prime. Yesterday they announced the release of another $5m, alongside ECT’s overall $17m investment to date.  

ECT General manager Commercial Richard Searle says, the Trust’s financial commitment to key projects as a regional entity, gives outside parties like the PGF the confidence to also invest.

“The Eastland Community Trust has identified the opportunity to use its funding to provide support or assurance for community projects, to go out and attract other participants to make these Tairawhiti initiatives happen.”

ECT has previously been recognised for its collaborative approach with Government and local stakeholders.

The PGF Panel earlier this year committed $5.5m to a new airport terminal for Tairawhiti, alongside regional commitment in the form of a $5m distribution from ECT, and a $2m investment by airport leasee Eastland Group.

ECT trustee Ailsa Cuthbert says, building on the success of the airport terminal joint approach, is a leap in the right direction for Tairawhiti Gisborne.

“We have worked closely with the PGF Panel since their initial visit to te Tairawhiti last year.

“As a region we have really come together across iwi, Gisborne District Council, the Trust and relevant stakeholders to deliver on a best for region approach, an approach that is working and will benefit all of te Tairawhiti.”

The three projects to receive funding yesterday cover different sectors but share a common thread in community wellbeing and job creation.

Matai is a ground-breaking, world-first medical imaging research facility, to be built on Gisborne Hospital grounds by May 2020.

“Matai will create local jobs in advanced science and medical fields, as well as new and exciting career paths for our rangatahi. It will also put te Tairawhiti at the forefront of medical resonance imaging nationally and globally,” says Ms Cuthbert.

Matai chair John Pittar says, ECT’s support will result in a significant contribution to regional growth and healthcare.

“ECT’s funding enables Matai to create high-tech job positions, which in turn will help to attract back and retain 'home-grown’ talent, who will be a source of inspiration and growth for our next generation.”

Matai director of research Dr Samantha Holdsworth says, ECT and its economic development arm Activate Tairawhiti, have been there from the beginning.

“They have been right behind us, as out-of-the-box thinkers. They have been there from the start, helping to get us to where we are today.”

ECT owns the Prime site, but not its resident businesses. The Prime investment will support Far East Sawmills as the mill continues to grow and allow WET Gisborne Limited to build its own heat plant.

As it stands, Far East and WET share a heat plant, separating the two will allow both entities to increase operations and create an estimated 30 new, well-paying jobs.

ASET will be located at Commerce Place. The land will be made available by ECT, while the PGF’s $2.2m figure will cover the cost of a shed and food manufacturing and processing plant on the Commerce Place site.

ASET works to reintegrate people into the work force, the programme takes a holistic approach by supporting individuals in and out of the workplace.

Mayor, soon to be Human Rights Commission Race Relations Commissioner, ECT trustee and ASET chair Meng Foon, yesterday commended the PGF for their continued support of Tairawhiti.