Chair John Clarke announced the funding at the Trust's 2021 Annual General Meeting held at Gisborne Airport.

Other "early win" projects to receive funding include a pump track across from the skate park, resurfacing and developments at Victoria Domain Courts, upgrades at Whakarua Park, pool heating at Ruatoria, Tokomaru Bay, Tolaga Bay and Ilminster Intermediate, and a play zone in Tokomaru Bay.

"Over the last 18 months the Trust has worked in partnership with Gisborne District Council and Sport Gisborne Tairāwhiti (SGT) to support the Tairāwhiti Sports Facilities Business Case. This has determined the high priority needs in our community, described as "early wins"," Mr Clarke said.

"These codes have been under-resourced, despite high participation numbers. We are confident that funding these projects will provide significant outcomes for the most in-need sections of our community."

Joelene Takai of the Mareikura Waka Ama Club said they were grateful the Trust had committed to supporting their facility.

"This brings us so much closer to realising our club and our sport's aspirations. We know the facility will bring together hundreds and probably thousands of individuals in Tairāwhiti that have enjoyed waka ama over the last 35 years since it was first introduced to our region and nationally by Matahi (Greg) Whakataka-Brightwell."

Tairāwhiti Adventure Trust spokesperson Haimona Ngata described the funding as a "gamechanger" for the rohe.

"As we"ve seen at the recent Tokyo Olympics, the inclusion of skateboarding and BMX freestyle has proven that active recreational sports can now compete with traditional mainstream sports on a world stage.

"As a group of volunteers and active users, we"re committed to the development of action and adventure sports. Working in partnership with Trust Tairāwhiti will allow us to deliver world class facilities that will be enjoyed by generations to come," he said.

The business case states that every dollar invested in recreational facilities in Tairāwhiti will bring a social return of $1.91.

The early win projects also align with the Trust's wellbeing framework He Rangitapu He Tohu Ora, providing impact and outcomes for hapori (communities) t?hono (relationships), and t?tangata (cultural identity).

"Considerable time, expertise and engagement with all sporting codes has gone into developing this business case. The Trust is proud to support it and get the ball rolling in these key areas," Mr Clarke said.

SGT led the engagement with sports and recreation codes on the business case, with the key outcomes being to improve the quality of the facilities, increase participation and enhance community wellbeing.

"This is a fantastic announcement for Te Tairāwhiti. These facilities will be well-loved, heavily utilised and they will play an important role in connecting our communities and improving their wellbeing. We commend the Trust for this significant investment that focuses on reducing inequities around facility provision," said SGT chief executive Stefan Pishief.

Mayor Rehette Stoltz said the early win funding would make an instant impact in communities across the region.

"It's the start of what will hopefully be a long and significant investment period into our region's sporting infrastructure."

The Trust has agreed in principle to fund 10 percent of the business case project costs, up to a maximum of $15m in the next five to 10 years. The first tranche of early win projects, which are largely "shovel-ready", will involve an investment of up to $8m.

The business case for all proposed facilities has been shared with communities throughout the region particularly sports codes, regional leaders and members of parliament, with the intent to submit it to central government for funding consideration.

The Trust will continue to work with the early win project recipients to ensure next step requirements are completed for the funding.

PublishDate: 12 August 2021