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Regional Economic Development Minister Shane Jones made the announcement on Thursday in Gore.
The money will come from the Government's $3billion Provincial Growth Fund (PGF).
Hokonui Huanui, a project aimed at ensuring young people have the skills to take up jobs, received $2.1million; and the Maruawai Project, a major upgrade of the Hokonui Moonshine Museum and Gore's heritage precinct, received $1.6million.
Mr Jones said the Hokonui Huanui programme was helping support young people who were known as Neets (Not in employment, education or training).
"[In] your area there are 13% or 14% of young men and women in that space where the prospect is the devil will make mischief out of idle hands," Mr Jones said.
He was surprised the number of Neets was as high as it was in a region where people were known for their work ethic.
"Once I was alerted to that I wanted to swing into action ... They're on the side of the road so I will gladly put my hand up.
"I don't care if they are black, blue or brindle, that is irrelevant to me, and, if anything, I would like to see the infusion of our provincial growth in the area of Neets grow."
Investing in the Maruawai project was helping to boost the district's economy.
"This is an attempt on our part ... to enable Gore to attract and maintain more of the tourism traffic and to ensure that more people take time to spend their money."
Gore Mayor Tracy Hicks said the Hokonui Huanui was about a community approach to growing children to become responsible adults.
"It takes a community to raise a child. We need a process in place in this community to make sure that when they get to the point of engaging and being constructive citizens they've got what it takes," Mr Hicks said.
It was great to see the Government willing to invest in the programme, he said.
Arts and heritage curator Jim Geddes said the PGF investment in the heritage precinct would enable the revitalisation of existing facilities and put Gore firmly on the map as a visitor destination.
Stage 1 will involve the redevelopment of the Hokonui Moonshine Museum and establishment of a boutique distillery producing Hokonui.
-By Sandy Eggleston