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Money well spent on Papawhariki to benefit Kaiti and wider region

Opinion Piece

The Papawhariki Society’s plans for Waikirikiri Reserve have the potential to transform the Kaiti area and a $1 million contribution from Gisborne District Council will be money well spent.

This week the council agreed in principle to provide a grant of that amount to the society for the purpose of seed funding for the sports-related portion of the society’s proposed community hub at Waikirikiri reserve.

That is subject to the society coming up with a comprehensive revenue generation strategy. A business case costing $40,000 paid for by the council has said the project would provide added value for the Gisborne-East Coast region. The council also agreed in principle to provide an annual grant of $45,000 towards the sports operating costs of the hub.

On the face of it these seem to be large amounts but, as Craig Bauld said, if the society had not come along, this was something the council would have had to do anyway.

Also, the council has an existing policy of paying 95 percent of the cost of sports grounds.

In any case there is a strong moral case for doing something for Kaiti where people feel they have been living in a neglected suburb for some time.

Decisions like having the three high schools on the other side of the city some decades ago have left their mark on the Kaiti community. Apart from Waikirikiri Reserve and a small area at Worsley Street there are no council sports grounds in Kaiti.

The location means that the society can interact with Te Runanganui o Ngati Porou whose Te Tini o Porou complex is close. Spokeswoman Meredith Ruru told the council they were fully behind the project. There is also synchronisation with Te Poho o Rawiri Marae.

The new complex will benefit more than just Kaiti. Spokesman Geoff Milner made the point that this was intended to be a community asset for all the people of the district. People already come from all around the city for junior rugby at the park.

This is a fantastic opportunity for the wider Gisborne and coast community.