Three Pasifika Churches Get Renovation Boon

Three Pasifika churches in Horowhenua will benefit from
renovations under the Fale Lotu Connections
Project.

Under the project, the Free Church of Tonga,
Samoan Methodist Church, and the Congregational Christian
Church of Samoa will jointly receive $1.46 million from the
Provincial Growth Fund to make their buildings warmer and
better equipped.

The funding was earmarked by the
Government in May for renovations
and improvements to Pasifika churches
around the country
as part of its COVID-19 response and recovery plan. It aims
to improve facilities for the communities the churches
serve, as well as creating jobs.

Mayor of Horowhenua
Bernie Wanden said Council was delighted to be leading the
project and administering the funds.

“Enhancing the
visibility of these churches will bring greater community
pride for the district’s growing Pacific population and
create potential for more community and inter-regional
events,” he said.

“In addition, this Government
investment will deliver economic benefits for our district.
We expect the project to create up to 10 new jobs across a
variety of trades, and we’ll be working with local
subcontractors, tradespeople and suppliers so the funding
directly supports our local industry as much as possible.
Where we can, we’ll fill new positions with people
economically affected by COVID-19 and create opportunities
for students of the Horowhenua Learning Centre Trades
Academy to gain new skills and experience,” he
said.

Rob Fifita-Tovo, Fale Lotu Connections Project
Team representative for the Free Church of Tonga, 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,” he
said.

The funding will enable the Free Church of Tonga
to carry out a range of improvements, including installing
heat pumps and insulation, better lighting and new windows
and doors. It will also repair or replace the hall roof and
ceiling, replace cladding, lay new carpet, paint exteriors
and interiors, and improve security.

Reverend Asora
Onesemo of the Samoan Methodist Church said, “This funding
from the Government is a very big blessing for our
congregation and our community, who will benefit from the
upgrades to the church and facilities. A big thank you to
Horowhenua District Council, who helped make this possible
and assisted us with the process. We are so grateful and
appreciate the blessings we have
received.”

Improvements at the Samoan Methodist
Church will include replacing worn floor coverings,
installing heat pumps, repairing and repainting the roof,
and installing a commercial standard kitchen and improved
fencing.

Congregational Christian Church of Samoa
(EFKS) Reverend Elekana Mose-Tuialii said the funding would
allow more groups and organsations 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,” he
said.

“We are grateful for the partnership of
Horowhenua District Council, the Provincial Growth Fund, the
Project Team and the contractors working together to make
this important work happen.”

The Congregational
Church would be able to redesign its buildings to provide
better functionality for the church and more hall space for
Church Group and community activities, as well as improved
toilet and kitchen facilities.

Renovations begin in
late October and are expected to be complete by April
2021.

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