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Trust suspends community grants

By Emily Norman

[email protected]

Masterton Trust Lands Trust’s building woes have resulted in a total cutback in community grants for at least a year.

The trust, at a meeting on Monday night, decided however that it would continue to meet its commitments to the education and arts sectors.

It has been forced to stop its community grants averaging a total of $129,000 annually to groups ranging from Riversdale Surf Lifesaving Club to Autism Wairarapa, as it seeks to remedy structural issues with some of its buildings rated as earthquake risks.

MTLT chairperson Leanne Southey said the trust was committed to moving” as quickly as possible” to remediate the buildings involved, but faced significant costs in doing so.

She hoped that the affected community groups would understand the trust’s decision.

“We’ve been saying it for a while that grants are going to come under pressure because of our structural issues, so I’m hoping it’s not a shock to people,” Miss Southey said.

“It was a hard decision, but for the long-term, it was the decision we had to make.”

Despite the financial constraints, Miss Southey said the trust decided it would “fund our education priorities for early childhood, schools and tertiary which are set for the next three years, and to the continued funding of Aratoi”.

Concessional rents for community groups, effectively a grant, will also remain, she added.

Trustees approved the first part of the education funding including a roll-based grant to schools of $12 per student totalling almost $70,000.

The trust is also set to provide its usual grant to the Masterton Library, subject to an application, of about $15,000.

It also agreed to make an additional $10,000 contribution to the Neil Dawson sculpture project, on top of $50,000 already pledged.

Miss Southey, who is involved in the Aratoi Foundation, said she left the room as this decision was made, to avoid a conflict of interest, but understood the trustees were keen to see the art project “over the line”.

Trustees would re-evaluate the viability of community grants this time next year.

“The trustees regret that community groups will miss out this year and expect that this will be a short-term situation.

“The key thing is, we need to look at the long-term for the trust — it’s just a reality.”


  1. Masterton will rue the day that they spent thousands on a sculpture that is sited entirely in the wrong place.
    Already wasted a huge amount on Arotoi , for bits of bent wire and abstract art etc. As kids and community miss out

  2. So $129k for community education.
    $127k + $50k + 10k for Aratoi

    All other grants are cancelled.

    So 58% of all grants the trust is handing out this year are going to Aratoi and that has absolutely nothing to do with the fact the chairman of the trust is linked to Aratoi.

    I smell a rat.

  3. Whaaaat.

    So everyone else in out in the cold due to the trusts poor management of buildings, but Aratoi continues to get funded and an additional grant to the Aratoi driven Ascension project on top.

    …and we are supposed to believe that has nothing to do with the Chairman of the trust being involved in the Aratoi foundation.

    What a load of bunkam, this smells dodgy to me.

Comments are closed.

Emily Ireland
Emily Ireland
Emily Ireland is Wairarapa’s Local Democracy Reporter, a Public Interest Journalism role funded through NZ On Air. Emily has worked at the Wairarapa Times-Age for seven years and has a keen interest in council decision-making and transparency.

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