The Government is allocating $45m to a new marine transport facility in the northern Tairāwhiti region.
Infrastructure Minister Shane Jones said the government has approved, in principle, the allocation of the funding to construct a facility at a suitable bay to increase economic activity in the regions and provide jobs.
"The suitable bays in northern Te Tairāwhiti area are halfway between the ports of Tauranga and Gisborne and creating a marine transport facility there could have significant benefits for local landowners," Jones said.
"It would also result in reduced transport costs for businesses and farmers and get more freight trucks off the roads."
Joners said it is unlikely the project would be underway within the next year, he wanted the funding secured, and the government will now work with local iwi, local businesses and coastal shipping operators to develop a plan.
"This part of New Zealand is among the most isolated, and economically and socially deprived regions in the country," Jones said.
"The population is predominantly Māori and, according to the last Census, the median income is only $18,500 and only a third of people are in full time employment.
"The idea to create a marine facility for moving goods by sea has been mooted many times over many years.
"Future options for such marine infrastructure could include bulk transport of goods to the area, other export industries and possible tourism ventures.
"Jobs would be created not only in building and operating the marine infrastructure but also with local businesses supporting the increased economic activity in the area that would result."
The funding for the project comes from the government's $3 billion set aside in the 2020 Budget for infrastructure projects to help New Zealand recover from Covid-19 economically.