Northland to get first regional digital business hubs in country

Northland is getting New Zealand’s first three Regional Digital Hubs (RDHs) to enable people to connect for business and accelerate economic development in the region, Regional Economic Development Minister Shane Jones announced today.

“The Regional Digital Hubs will be a game changer for the region once they are set up and running by the end of this year. There will be three hubs in three locations in the region with the first hub to open in Kaitaia. The other two hubs are likely to be in Dargaville and Kaikohe,” Shane Jones said.

“The hubs will allow people to connect for business development and support, and offer services such as free WiFi connectivity, co-working spaces and guidance on use of the internet for business and skills development purposes.

“Additionally Northland is growing its digital footprint with two marae recently going live as part of the PGF marae connectivity package. Oromahoe marae and Te Houhanga marae in Northland are the first in the country to be connected under the package.

“In North Hokianga we’re funding work to progress marae connectivity at Ngāi Tupoto, Ngāti Manawa and Te Uri o Hina marae. Another 11 marae in Northland are also looking to get connected.

“Connecting marae will help communities seize business and education opportunities, as well as help whānau stay in touch and Māori to connect with their iwi.

“Funding for these initiatives comes from the PGF local digital connectivity funding package of $21 million which helps connect marae to the internet and establish Regional Digital Hubs in regional towns to enable local businesses to access digital services to get online.

“Improving digital connectivity was flagged as a key area of investment for the PGF as it is a catalyst for economic development and wellbeing, lifts productivity and supports the other investments Government is making in the regions through the Provincial Growth Fund.

“We know that improving digital infrastructure improves people’s lives. It ensures that regardless of where people live, they can experience the benefits of faster and reliable broadband," Shane Jones said.