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Funding fireworks from community board

Funding decisions during the Bay of Islands-Whangaroa Community Board meeting on Thursday 18 April will not only help a fireworks event to become bigger and better, but also exploded the expectations of most funding recipients by increasing the amounts granted.

A celebration of the Matariki constellation, which signals the start of Māori New Year, was the biggest event to seek funding and was granted the largest amount of $22,500, from the Community Grant Fund. Te Tau Hou Māori: Puanga Matariki Celebration is a free festival which includes a narration of the creation pūrākau (legend) and an explanation of the Matariki constellation through a light show, illuminated waka, and fireworks on a grand scale.

Last year, the event attracted over 5000 people to Paihia’s waterfront and village green. Event organiser, Business Paihia, plans to make the festival the place to celebrate the star cluster of Puanga Matariki by extending its audiovisual story, providing more viewing positions, more waiata, more kapa haka and crowd participation. The expansion plans, which aim to increase economic benefits to the local community, have been boosted by the board’s support. It granted more than twice the recommended $10,000. The funding will go towards production, sound system and lighting costs. The celebration of Matariki from a Pēwhairangi (Bay of Islands) perspective is scheduled for Friday 28 June, from 4pm to 8pm.

Kawakawa Bowling Club also benefitted from a grant larger than the $2500 recommended. It received $4485 from the Placemaking Fund to cover the full costs of four shelters to protect players from the sun when on the green. The non-profit club, established in 1912, now boasts membership spanning three generations. It already provides sunblock and t-shirts to players, while also encouraging hats and sunglasses to be worn. The club’s 124 members raised $500 for the sun shelters from raffles and social club nights.

A local stage production of Little Shop of Horrors had a lot to scream about when a funding recommendation of $5000 was increased to $9000 by the board, from the Community Grant Fund. Kerikeri Theatre Company, which provides high-quality theatrical experiences for locals, will use the money for venue hire.

A project to enhance access to the wetlands in Kawakawa received $5000 from the board’s Placemaking Fund. Ngā Tangariki o Ngāti Hine Trust has been working with the Department of Conservation on the town’s northern entrance to Te Pou Herenga Tai – Twin Coast Cycle Trail. Volunteers improving and beautifying the cycle trail gateway have been clearing rubbish and weeds and plan to create story boards and continue to improve the natural environment. The funds will be used for weed matting, rocks and other landscaping supplies.

Main photo and below - the celebration of Matariki last year, which included a light show, illuminated waka, and fireworks, attracted over 5000 people.