Rātana Pā goes high-tech with UFB

Iwi, hapu and visitors to Rātana Pā near Whanganui now have access to ultra-fast broadband following its connection, completed in time for annual Rātana celebrations, Regional Economic Development Minister Shane Jones says.

The connection and associated hardware were funded from the Provincial Growth Fund’s $21 million Marae Digital Connectivity programme, which aims to connect rural communities to the internet.

“I am delighted to see Rātana pā, such an important and spiritual place, connected to the ultra-fast broadband network,” Shane Jones said.

The connection has been completed in time for celebrations this week,marking the birthday of the Rātana Church’s founder TW Ratana on January 25.

“These places are central hubs for whānau, hapū and iwi, and are central to many rural communities. This improved digital connectivity will support the community’s economic activity and improve their connections with wider whānau.”

The new infrastructure supports the settlement’s digital hub and 10 offices within the pā ground and more than 350 whanau.

The Marae Digital Connectivity programme is picking up momentum, partnering with 10 service providers throughout Aotearoa. Spark is also providing the hardware and installation to improve connectivity at marae nationally and some broadband connectivity, along with nine wireless operators.