South Taranaki

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Patea icon welcomes visitors to the area


  • The Patea River Pa is a community owned tourism business concept developed by the Patea Community Development Trust.


  • To create a successful visitor attraction in Patea - an authentic depiction of Maori life in pre-European times, set in a fortified village on the northern bank of the Patea River. This project aims to provide employment, training opportunities and profits for the people of Patea.

    Patea is a town of very high unemployment with several generations of benefit dependency. Approximately half the adult population is in receipt of a benefit. It is a town in dire need of a sustainable economic and community development solution. The community believes that the Patea River Pa will provide that solution. They aim to provide sustainable employment and skills training in hospitality and customer service within the tourism industry and to encourage self-employment and entrepreneurial opportunities as well as marketing and business development skills and training.


  • Stage one of the project requires raising the finance needed to implement and complete the project and to physically construct the Patea River Pa.

    Once constructed, the Pa will require excellent marketing/promotion to create a profitable business. Profits will be returned to the community. The Trust’s goal is to open the complex in September 2004 with trained local people - creating sustainable employment opportunities for Patea.

    Stage Two to build on the achievements of Stage One with further development plans for the future. These plans include a café/gallery space and deck catering for up to 80 patrons, a new separate toilet facility, and the introduction of audio visual installations and video/DVD production.


  • The Employment Catalyst in partnership with the Mayors Taskforce for Jobs gave $50,000 towards this project.


  • Thousands of voluntary hours have been spent planning this facility. The Patea Community Trust has purchased an excellent site and detailed site and construction plans have been completed. Poles and manuka for palisades have been collected in conjunction with running a forestry course where trainees learnt chainsaw and bush skills.

    Strategic plans, business plans, costing and budgets and a feasibility study have been prepared.

    Strong links have been made with the tourism industry and with the national museum fraternity.

    Independent training providers have run courses in tourism and customer services and an introductory Painting course.

    The Department of Corrections work teams have cleared river banks, The Taranaki Regional Council have provided a Riparian Management Plan, and a Boardwalk around the salt-marsh estuary is being constructed. Local people are aware of the uniqueness of the area and are introducing rare plants with the help of the Department of Conservation.

    Recently another carver has been employed.

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    A preview of the Patea River Pa.

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    And a close up.

    South Taranaki District Council
    Mayor of South Taranaki Mary Bourke
    Work and Income NZ
    Swift Energy
    Community Employment Group
    Dept of Conservation
    Taranaki Regional Council

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    South Taranaki District Council

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    Department of Work and Income

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    Swift Energy

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    Community Employment

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    Taranaki Regional Council

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    Department of Conservation
    Te Papa Atawhai

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    "The Patea River Pa is part of a multi pronged community development undertaking that has been developed and is currently being implemented by the people of Patea…
    The Patea River Pa is by far the most ambitious of these and as a result has the potential to create the greatest number of "FTEs" in a range of disciplines…"
    Mary Bourke, Mayor of South Taranaki

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    Project Contacts

    Claire Symes
    Administration Co-ordinator
    Patea Community
    Development Trust
    PO Box 7 Patea
    Phone 06 273 8772