An iwi has made a big investment aimed at injecting new life in an important but isolated community.

Ngāi Tūhoe opened new $12 million facilities at Ruatāhuna over the weekend which will house retail, tourism and iwi administration activities.

Local Iharaira Temara says it’s a dream and aspiration for Ruatāhuna that’s been fulfilled

“He rā hirahira tēnei mō Tūhoe, mō Ruatāhuna - me kī he tīmatanga hou tēnei mō ngā hapū o Ruatāhuna, he whakapiki oranga.”

$12 million was spent towards 'Te Kura Tangata' - the Te Tii Hub in Ruatāhuna which accommodates a general store, the tribal office, cafe, petrol station, motel, radio station, laundry, marketplace, playground, community garden and other inviting outdoor spaces.

And the community is over the moon, including Tokawhakaea Temara who says they have been without a gas station for a number of years.

“Nō te tau 2000 rā anō pea te korenga atu o te penehīni i konei. Ko au te kaiwhakahaere i te toa i tērā wā. I te korenga atu o te penehini ka tīmata te toa ki te heke ōna āhuatanga katoa engari kua hoki mai he mea mīharo tērā.”

Iharaira Temara also says the tributes flew to the man who kick-started this project, to the late Turiokahu White.

“Koia te tiamana o Manawarū i te wā tīmata te hīkoi o tēnei kaupapa e rua tau ki muri me te mōhio anō kei te tiro mai a ia kua tutuki te kaupapa nei ka koa tērā Māori rāua ko Te Mākarini, rāua tahi he tareketi no ō rāua marae i roto i ngā hui a te taraipara o Manawarū.”

The new project, called Te Tii, is the third major building project by Ngāi Tūhoe following their Crown Treaty of Waitangi settlement.

And furthermore, their medical centre will be up and running by the end of the year.

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