3 Aug 2015

Iwi partnership leads to jobs

11:32 am on 3 August 2015

An iwi-led initiative to improve the well-being of the community is being hailed a success after generating nearly 40 new jobs.

The Ruapehu Whānau Transformation Plan led by Ngāti Rangi started in 2013 as a way of bettering the lives of its community in Ōhākune, Raetihi and Waiōuru.

The iwi partnered up with local businesses, the Defence Force and government agencies to address education, employment, housing, health and social well-being issues.

Project manager Erena Mikaere-Most said a careers expo it held in 2013 resulted in employment for dozens of families.

"From that event we were able to achieve 38 employment outcomes," she said.

"And we knew that many of outcomes were people in our community who weren't coming from another job, it was a new job [for them], and some of those jobs were newly-created.

"And, I think a very amateur way of calculating it, someone came up with a figure of about just over $1.1 million worth of wages and salaries going into whānau [households] and of course subsequently into our local economy which is really important."

Home insulation plan

Ms Mikaere-Most said the living conditions of 101 houses had also been audited as part of an ongoing needs analysis and a Property Warrant of Fitness [WoF] trial had just been completed.

She said given that rohe experienced extremely cold winters, making sure homes were insulated was a priority.

She said 38 percent of homes did not have any form of insulation, 76 percent used a wood burner as the main source of heating and of these 15 percent of whānau struggled to afford wood or have adequate dry storage available.

Ms Mikaere-Most said over the coming months 50 homes were going to be checked under the WoF initiative which included free assessments of the warmth, soundness and electrical safety as well as repair and information about available grants and funding assistance.

Ms Mikaere-Most of Tūhourangi and Ngāti Whakaue descent said the strategy proved that it did not need to rely on the government for help and that if the community worked together it could come up with its own solutions.