PGF funding for Taranaki projects

The South Taranaki museum, a New Plymouth distillery and a Pasifika building firm will benefit from a Government investment totalling more than $1 million, Regional Economic Development Minister Shane Jones says.

The $1.05m in grants and loans from the Provincial Growth Fund (PGF) will help the recipients expand and create new jobs in the region, in line with the objectives of the Government’s COVID-19 economic response.

New Plymouth company BeGin Distilling, which makes Juno gin, is receiving an $800,000 PGF loan to expand its operations, employ more staff and provide greater opportunities for local farmers.

“The distillery is a great success story and this loan will help it expand and increase production to meet the growing demand for its products, both here and in overseas markets,” Shane Jones said.

The expansion will create five new distillery jobs, as well as offering local farmers new opportunities to grow key ingredients for the gin, such as juniper and orris root.

The Provincial Growth Fund is also providing a $200,000 grant to help fund the expansion of Patea’s museum.

The $1.78 million project involves the construction of a new building to provide additional exhibition and collection space for Aotea Utanganui: Museum of South Taranaki.

Shane Jones says the funding will provide a much-needed boost for Patea.

“Patea has struggled since its freezing works closed nearly 40 years ago and it now has one of the country’s highest levels of deprivation. 

“It needs more economic opportunities and there is clear evidence cultural tourism through projects like the museum can provide one,” Shane Jones says.

“The museum is already popular, with 7000 visitors a year, and its expansion will bring more visitors to Patea, helping local businesses and encouraging others to become established.

“Just as importantly, developing Aotea Utanganui will make the district’s rich and diverse heritage accessible to locals so they can see themselves and their stories reflected in their own place.”

The project will provide nine jobs during construction, with up to another three at the museum when it’s finished.  

The third beneficiary of the funding announcement is the Pasifika-owned company Uhila Building Solutions, which is receiving a $50,000 PGF grant to help it grow its business.

“This funding fits with the Government’s focus on encouraging Māori and Pasifika businesses and will allow Uhila to immediately scale up its business to employ four new staff and take on more work,” Shane Jones says.