Nine of New Zealand’s brightest and most inspiring young Pacific students have just received Government scholarships to pursue their dreams says Pacific Peoples Minister Alfred Ngaro.
This is the second year that the Toloa Tertiary Scholarships have been available.
The scholarships of up to $25,000 each are paid over three years and awarded to Pacific students studying science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) subjects at a tertiary level.
“There were 53 applicants for the scholarships this year and I know that the selection panel had a really tough time narrowing it down to this select group,” says Mr Ngaro.
“These really are our best and brightest. These are students who are not only stepping up to embrace the opportunities available to them in one of New Zealand’s fastest growing sectors but also showing leadership in their communities.
“One of our students is a science mentor in South Auckland primary schools, another volunteers his time at an afterschool homework centre for Tongan youth. We’ve even got one student who has taken the things she’s learned through her study and has built three reef monitoring structures to monitor coral ecosytems in her village of Saoluafata (in Samoa).
“I’m so pleased that these scholarships are encouraging our young people to consider a career in STEM”.
Further details about the winners can be found at www.mpp.govt.nz/young-people/toloa/scholarships/2017-toloa-tertiary-scholarship-winners/
Months of hard work has put Government in a good position to house those most in need in Auckland during a busy period says Associate Social Housing Minister Alfred Ngaro.
“Over the last few months I’ve been getting out and about and visiting those on the ground,” says Mr Ngaro.
“I’ve been consistently impressed with the speed and commitment of both providers and public servants. Dedication which has meant that on a couple of occasions I’ve even had meetings cancelled so they can concentrate all their efforts on delivering housing for our most vulnerable kiwi families.
“In the buildup to the World Masters Games we’ve seen a lot of concern that more people would find themselves with nowhere to stay.
“It’s true that the Games create a pinch point but proactive work means 281 families have already secured housing for the period of the games and we’ve got further options being worked through for others who might find themselves with nowhere to stay.
“These are in addition to the transitional housing places we’ve already got people living in.
“It’s a sign of how much effort goes on every day to support vulnerable kiwis that we’ve been able to support so many Aucklanders.
“Solutions will be found for anyone who finds themselves with nowhere to stay but in this pinch point period I’d strongly encourage anyone planning on coming to the area to make sure they’ve got somewhere to stay already lined up.”
Last year, the Government provided $354 million in new funding for transitional housing – the first time the sector has received ongoing, direct funding from the Government. This will support 8600 kiwis and their families every year.
“It’s really satisfying to see how Government funding and efforts are helping people in need.”
The 2016 Public Trust and Confidence in Charities survey serves as a reminder of the regulator role of Charity Services and the transparency of the Charities Register says Community and Voluntary Sector Minister Alfred Ngaro.
The survey has been run every two years since 2008 and the results are relatively similar to previous years.
The results show that New Zealanders trust and confidence in the sector is moderate with an average rating of 5.9 out of 10.
“What really jumps out when reading the report is how much value people place on the role of a regulator of the sector and in transparency however many respondents weren’t actually aware that these services are already in place,” says Mr Ngaro.
Just over half of those who took part in the survey felt it was essential to have a group doing the work, including regulation, that Charities Services does but 37% had never heard of the team.
All registered charities are required to report about how they get their money and how they spend it. These reports are publicly available on the online Charities Register.
“Kiwis are an incredibly generous bunch so it’s reassuring to see that the things that we consider important are exactly the services that are in place and it’s a great opportunity to promote those services.”
The survey is published here https://www.charities.govt.nz/charities-in-new-zealand/public-trust-and-confidence-in-charities/
From today communities will be able to apply for $12.5 million of grant funding for the projects and organisations that matter to them most says Community and Voluntary Sector Minister Alfred Ngaro.
The Community Organisation Grants Scheme (COGS) opens today.
“The COGS funding is unique in that it’s decided on and distributed by local distribution committees. That means we have locals deciding what matters most to them and what will have the most impact on their own communities,” says Mr Ngaro.
The 37 local COGS committees will make decisions on what projects, events and organisations will receive funding by 28 July 2017 at the latest.
Last year 4,223 organisations received funding under the scheme. Some of the recipients included:$3,000 to Sumner Senior Citizens for bus trips and speakers to provide opportunities for the seniors in Sumner to get out and about and socialize. $2,450 to Sailability Hawkes Bay Trust which helps people with disabilities to build confidence in themselves while learning to sail. The fund helped pay for storage and maintenance of the boats. $3,000 to Access Radio Wairarapa which provides broadcasting services to the local community. Roughly 40 groups use the service and programmes reflect the diversity of the community. $14,645 to King Street Artworks which provides free art workshops and encourages mental health.
More information can be found on www.communitymatters.govt.nz or 0800 824 824.
Minister for Children Anne Tolley and Associate Minister for Children Alfred Ngaro welcome today’s official launch of VOYCE – Whakarongo Mai - the independent advocacy service for children and young people in state care.
“VOYCE – Whakarongo Mai is an important part of the Government’s overhaul of our care and protection system,” says Mrs Tolley.
“Yesterday the Prime Minister Bill English and I launched the Ministry for Vulnerable Children, Oranga Tamariki which will put children and young people’s needs first, and ensure they have a say in decisions that affect them.
“VOYCE – Whakarongo Mai is the first of its kind in New Zealand. There has never been an advocacy service for children and young people who are or have been in care.”
Minister Ngaro is attending today’s launch in Auckland, along with a number of children and young people, caregivers and supporters.
“Young people have expressed a desire for a service like this for many years, and it was a recommendation of the expert panel which advised the Government on the overhaul of care and protection,” says Mr Ngaro.
“Set up in partnership with young people who have experienced care, the government, NGOs and philanthropic sector, VOYCE – Whakarongo Mai, will provide a strong independent voice from children and young people.
“It will also connect children and young people in care with each other, and help build a positive identity and sense of community.
“VOYCE – Whakarongo Mai is working closely with the Ministry for Vulnerable Children Oranga Tamariki. The service will expand over time, from a website and a team focused on arranging connection events, to phone and online advocacy by late 2017, and a service in the regions from 2018.”
The Government has funded $1.2 million to help set up VOYCE – Whakarongo Mai, in addition to funding from its philanthropic partners. Over the next four years the Government will contribute an extra $6.9 million to build and expand the service.
The Government’s plan to develop 12 old houses into 44 new social housing is moving at pace in Auckland.
Social Housing Minster Amy Adams and Associate Social Housing Minister Alfred Ngaro were onsite in Mt Wellington to see first-hand four Housing New Zealand developments on the go in Auckland.
Ten new two, three and four-bedroom homes have replaced three old 1960s houses at 24-26 Bernard St and 1 Kealy Road. Across the four Mount Wellington sites, there will soon be 44 modern homes, where old 12 houses once stood. In total the four developments will have the capacity to house around 240 people.
“These high-quality developments show the work this Government is leading to help get more social homes built in Auckland,” says Ms Adams.
“Over the next three years, we aim to grow the number of social houses from 66,000 today to 72,000 across the country.”
Mr Ngaro says, “The Government is aware of the demand for more social housing in Auckland. We’ve seen an increase in the number of people needing a social house and emergency accommodation in our biggest city.
“The transformation of these four sites is typical of the work Housing New Zealand is doing throughout Auckland to make more efficient use of its land and transform older housing stock to provide greater numbers of warm, dry homes in areas of high demand.
“There are a number of redevelopments on the go, with more on their way.”
The new homes are all designed and built to modern standards, and include double-glazing, insulation, thermal curtains, carpet, and low-maintenance plantings.
The Ministers also officially opened a new laneway at the redevelopment. They were joined by local primary school pupil Kahalia Marinoto, who won a competition to name the laneway Ātaahua Lane (ātaahua means beautiful in Māori).
About the four Housing New Zealand redevelopments:
· Ten new two, three and four-bedroom homes have replaced three old 1960s houses at 24-26 Bernard St and 1 Kealy Road.
Due for completion soon:
· 13 new homes - 7 are two bedroom, 2 are three bedroom and 4 are four bedroom at 19-21 Kealy Road / 257-259 Panama Road. They replace four old houses.
· 1 & 3 Ryburn Road, 596 Mt Wellington Highway – 13 new homes will replace three old homes on a 2423 sqm site.
· 216-218 Panama Road – where eight new homes are replacing two old houses.
This weekend is an opportunity for us to check in on our neighbours and build our communities says Community and Voluntary Sector Minister Alfred Ngaro.
Neighbours Day Aotearoa is celebrated across the country over the weekend of 25th and 26th March.
“Events like the Kaikoura Earthquake and Port Hill fires prompted neighbours to come together and offer each other a helping hand. It’s great then to also have a more positive reminder to check in on each other and build those communities,” says Mr Ngaro.
“While lots of us are getting better at keeping in touch online I find nothing quite beats a chat over the fence or a barbeque with neighbours.
“Neighbours Day Aotearoa is an opportunity to meet new people and get to know our neighbours better. I encourage everyone to get out and celebrate the day in some way.”
The annual event began in Auckland in 2009 and is supported by LifeWise, Inspiring Communities, Public Libraries, the Mental Health Foundation and the Methodist Mission.
More information and lots of great resources can be found at http://neighboursday.org.nz/
With the ‘Support for Volunteering’ fund opening today volunteering groups should look at what projects they need help with and apply for funding says Community and Voluntary Sector Minister Alfred Ngaro.
“Every year we grant over $500,000 through this fund to support volunteering in New Zealand,” says Mr Ngaro.
“Volunteers contribute about $3.5 billion in labour every year, so this funding is one of many ways we can support the amazing contribution they give to New Zealand every day.
“Last year we supported Volunteering New Zealand, regional volunteer centres and a number of volunteering projects looking at building community strength and we’re looking for the same mix again this year.
Some of the projects that were successful last year included:specialised training for Snow Sports NZ volunteers who are working to help people with disabilities ski training youth volunteers with the Chinese New Settlers Services Trust to become leaders who could train and mentor other children and youth in the organization a training day for volunteers of the Alzheimer's Society (Manawatu) who are working with people affected by dementia a volunteer development and celebration event in Invercargill where volunteers shared knowledge and resourcefulness, engaged with other volunteers and celebrated their successes.
“I’d encourage any group looking to support or promote volunteering to apply for the fund.”
Applications for the DIA administered fund open on 22 March 2017 and close on 3 May 2017.
More information can be found on www.communitymatters.govt.nz or 0800 824 824.
Vulnerable families will now have other housing options in Lower Hutt thanks to Government funding says Associate Social Housing Minister Alfred Ngaro.
The Minister today visited the blessing and opening of a new transitional house in Naenae.
Koraunui Marae Trust has been contracted to provide housing and support services to the women and children who’ll stay in the six-bedroom, three-bathroom house.
“This is the second transitional property we’ve opened in Lower Hutt in as many months and we’ll have another two properties coming on board this week,” says Mr Ngaro.
“Tomorrow a local mum and her kids will move into this new place and will be supported by the Koraunui Marae team to get back on their feet.”
A house mother will work onsite to support the residents during their stay, and will continue to help the family once they’ve moved onto somewhere more permanent.
“The Koraunui team are well established and have been supporting their community for a number of years so it’s fantastic to be able to help them to support even more families.”
Last year, the Government provided $354 million in new funding for Emergency Housing – the first time permanent funding has been committed, this will provide 8600 emergency housing places per year.
“It’s really satisfying to see in person how the funding the Government committed last year is helping people in need.”
Pacific Peoples Minister Alfred Ngaro has today congratulated the winners of the 2017 ASB Polyfest.
“It was another fantastic event this year and I know that the judges would have had an extremely hard time selecting the top groups,” says Mr Ngaro.
“I attended the celebrations on Friday, while the PM visited yesterday and we were both blown away by the caliber of the performances.
“The Pacific population in New Zealand is incredibly diverse and growing rapidly. We’re young and gifted and it’s fantastic to see events like the ASB Polyfest recognising and celebrating this.
“The Government invested funding into the festival over the last three years and it’s great to see that investment working to help so many young people connect with and celebrate their cultures.
“I’d like to congratulate all the students on their hard work, leadership and dedication, it really showed in their performances. And of course congratulations in particular to those schools who came out on top.”