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Three Pasifika churches in Horowhenua get renovation funding

The Samoan Methodist church has been granted $500,000 of funding from the Provincial Growth Fund for renovations.

David Unwin/Stuff

The Samoan Methodist church has been granted $500,000 of funding from the Provincial Growth Fund for renovations.

Three Pasifika churches will be warmer and better equipped to support the Horowhenua community, thanks to some government funding.

The Free Church of Tonga, Samoan Methodist Church, and the Congregational Christian Church of Samoa received a total of $1.46 million from the Provincial Growth Fund as part of the Fale Lotu Connections Project.

The funding aims to improve facilities for communities around the country and create jobs as part of the Government’s Covid-19 response and recovery plan.

Mayor Bernie Wanden said enhancing the visibility of the churches would bring greater community pride for the district’s growing Pacific population.

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The Free Church of Tonga in Levin has been granted $461,172 for renovations.

David Unwin/Stuff

The Free Church of Tonga in Levin has been granted $461,172 for renovations.

It would also create potential for more community and inter-regional events.

The project was expected to create up to 10 jobs, with a focus on working with local subcontractors, tradespeople and suppliers.

Free Church of Tonga Fale Lotu Connections Project representative Rob Fifita-Tovo said church members were “over the moon” about the renovations.

“The church is the highest priority for the people of Tonga and is a place where members spend a lot of time together.

“Having the church and hall renovated means we’ll have modern, warm facilities that will provide more options for hosting events and other congregations.”

The Free Church of Tonga received $461,172, which would enable the church to install heat pumps and insulation, better lighting and new windows and doors.

It would also repair or replace the hall roof and ceiling, replace cladding, lay new carpet, paint exteriors and interiors, and improve security.

The Samoan Methodist Church received $500,000, which would be used to replace worn floor coverings, install heat pumps, repair and repaint the roof, and install a commercial standard kitchen and improved fencing.

Samoan Methodist Church Reverend Asora Onesemo said the funding was a “big blessing” for the congregation and the community, who will benefit from the upgrades.

The Congregational Christian Church of Samoa received $500,000, which would allow the church to redesign its buildings to provide better functionality and more hall space, as well as improved toilet and kitchen facilities.

Reverend Elekana Mose-Tuialii said the funding would allow more groups and organisations to hold events that would benefit the Pacific community.

“The church building is a safety sanctuary for our church members and their families. This is where we naturally gather as a village community, and a better renovated building means we don’t need to worry about the deficiencies of our building.”

The Congregational Christian Church of Samoa in Palmerston North also received $500,000, and its renovations would create 34 jobs.The Assembly of God Palmerston North Samoans got $149,932, and would create eight jobs.

Renovations would begin in late October and were expected to be completed by April 2021.

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