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Renovations begin for four Pacific churches in Hamilton

From top left to bottom right: Hamilton Samoan Methodist Church, the Congregational Christian Church of Samoa, the Westside Presbyterian Church, and the Wesleyan Church of Tonga. Photo: Supplied

Last week marked the official opening and blessing for the Pacific Church Renovation Project, which sees four Pacific churches in Hamilton undergo much-needed renovations.

The project, lead by Alignz Recruitment, is funded by the New Zealand Government’s Provincial Growth Fund. It is a collaboration between the Hamilton Samoan Methodist Church, the Congregational Christian Church of Samoa, the Westside Presbyterian Church and the Wesleyan Church of Tonga, bringing together Samoans, Tongans, Cook Islands, Niueans, Fijians, ni-Vanuatu, Māori and more.

“Our church has been praying for years. It was like a blessing and answer to our prayers when this funding came through for our congregation,” says Ere Ford, Leader from the Westside Presbyterian Church.

The church is 115 years old, known as the First church and Hamilton’s only Pacific Island Presbyterian Church.

“Our church has been fundraising for years for the renovation of our church and ministers house. It was a blessing when one Sunday night, Meta Tyrell and Felila Asiata approached us about this opportunity,” an emotional Rev. Anatu Reupena shared as he blessed the project.

Lesa Apulu Tyrell, Director for Alignz Recruitment. Photo: Supplied

The Pacific Church Renovation Project project will impact many Māori and Pacific people within the Waikato Region. More than 400 community members are expected to benefit; over 50 new jobs will be created, and over 14 businesses will be working on the project – 80% of which are Māori and Pasifika businesses.

“When Covid hit, our company lost a key contract for the Auckland airport. This project could not have come at a better time. Not only that, but this really gives back to our community and is a chance for our Māori and Pacific contractors to really come together, learn from one another and really get it right from the start. So we can all produce a finished project we can all be proud of,” shared Rena Schuster, Director for Project Unite.

The project also highlights female leadership in the Trades and Construction industry. Felila Asiata-Feausi from Alignz Recruitment was the key person in the consulting process with all church leaders and contractors, to tendering for the project on behalf of the churches to now being the Project Manager, with Tonga Robertson, Director of NEST Interiors and Design, as the Project Coordinator.

Photo: Alignz Recruitment, Puatala and government officials. Photo: Supplied

“This is Social Procurement at its best. Bringing in our community, creating jobs for our Maori and Pacific people, and bringing opportunity for our Maori and Pacific businesses. This is the start of many future projects together” Tjay Asiata, National Group Manager for Alignz Recruitment shared.

The New Zealand Government has allocated three billion dollars over a three-year term to invest in regional economic development through the Provincial Growth Fund (PGF).

Renovations started on the Hamilton Samoan Methodist Church on last Wednesday.

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