Collaborative approach to developing Pasifika community hub

Published on October 16, 2020

Fijian flag raised - Pasifika Community Hall

Integrated Recovery Team Media Release

Community connections made because of Covid-19 have resulted in a positive outcome for Whanganui Cook Island Christian Church and Rivercity Fijian Assembly of God Church, who have been given Provincial Growth Fund (PGF) funding for a community hall. 

The two organisations collectively applied for funding to renovate the Cook Islands and Fijian Community Hall in Puriri Street, Gonville, after hearing about funding opportunities through Whanganui & Partners.   

The $285,000 funding will help fund the renovation of the hall, including painting the building, replacing carpet and toilets and installing heating.  

Nga Apai, from Whanganui Cook Island Community Chairperson, says he “generally knows the ups and downs and the ropes” of applying for funding, thanks to his board-chair role at Tawhero School and other community organisations, but applying for the PGF “was about understanding their process and rigmarole”. 

Shortly after the lockdown, the Integrated Recovery Team met with members of the Pasifika community at a hui at childcare centre Born and Raised Pasifika, where Hannah Kelly, Strategic Lead – Capability and International, spoke about various funding for community groups. 

“Without the hui we would have never known about the funding. We did the ground work in terms of knowing what our hall needed but without Hannah’s help to write the application we wouldn’t have got where we are. Survival of many community organisations relies on funding,” says Nga.   

He says the funding opportunity is a positive outcome which has resulted from a bad situation. 

“If we didn’t have Covid-19 it would have been a longer, five year plan, with lots of fundraising. It has moved us down the track toward what we want to do. If someone hadn’t helped with us, it would have been a struggle.” 

The renovated hall will be used for community events for both the Pasifika community and churches and the wider Tawhero and Gonville communities. Events planned for the community include barbeques so people can get to know each other and fitness activities. 

“The improvements will also be a huge help for starting many more projects under the Whanganui Cook Island Trust’s aspirational pillars of Wellbeing, Social Services, Culture and Business for Pasifika people and for the Gonville/Tawhero community,” says Nga. 

The hall will also be used as a Civil Defence Centre for evacuations and welfare support and as a 2020 Election Day voting place.