Funding helps projects spring into action
Enhancing wetland areas, restoring the mana of a famous natural spring, maintaining a native plant nursery and protecting native species by reducing predators all feature in a tranche of conservation projects backed by funding through the Government’s Jobs for Nature programme.
“What really impresses me about these projects is how they strive to build on existing conservation work or seek to recover lost natural heritage, habitats or important taonga species alongside a commitment to train up new staff,” Conservation Minister Kiri Allan said.
“A great example is Te Mauri o Waihou, a project led by Raukawa iwi to restore Te Puna - the Blue Springs - near Putaruru, an area where high visitor numbers has seen the gradual degradation of a truly beautiful location.
“Ngā wai o Te Nehenehenui is a Wai Ora River Care initiative that will see more than 40,000 native trees grown, nurtured and planted in Maniapoto. The project involves riparian planting and management on both private and Māori-owned land.
“Pest and weed control are the focus of the Waipapa Pikiāriki project, with a local company pitching in to help protect several threatened native species, including North Island kōkako and whio in Pūreora forest. Four field roles specifically designed to upskill workers, and provide practical qualifications for a career in pest management, are also being created.
“Meanwhile an investment in work being done at Sanctuary Mountain Maungatautari - a mainland ecological island south of Cambridge surrounded by one of the world’s longest pest-proof fences provides - provides funding for four conservation cadet roles.
“An urban conservation initiative led by the Mangaiti Restoration Trust and supported by the Waikato Environment Centre (Go Eco) also gets a funding boost to help its efforts in enhancing the Mangaiti Gully, home to a resident long-tail bat population.
“COVID-19 has had an unprecedented impact on our communities. It’s immensely satisfying that as the economy reopens the Jobs for Nature programme is helping generate employment in a sector that has such an important role in protecting the country’s biodiversity into the future,” Kiri Allan said.
Overview of the projects
- Te Mauri o Waihou led by Raukawa Charitable Trust, to restore and protect Te Puna/The Blue Spring; near Putaruru. Te Puna was previously a “hidden gem” but is now a popular tourist attraction. The $993,000 investment will employ 14 people over three years, with work including visitor infrastructure to mitigate visitor impacts on native flora and fauna, biodiversity and environmental plans and monitoring, as well as pest control and revegetation.
- Ngā wai o Te Nehenehenui is a Wai Ora River Care initiative aimed at the restoration and revitalisation of waterways in Te Nehenehenui (Maniapoto area). The one-year project has been funded $405,000, retaining six existing staff to propagate and plant native plants in the Mōkau catchment which will address historic changes in land use.
- Waipapa Pikiāriki is a two-year project delivering ecologically-friendly pest and weed control by Kaitiaki Pest Control Solutions. Funding of $760,000 will allow effective pest control over 3388 hectares in the Pikiāriki and Waipapa blocks of Pureora, assisting in the protection of an area of great cultural and environmental significance and home to many taonga species.
- Maungatautari Ecological Island Trust has received $589,416 to provide four conservation cadet roles for rangatahi on the Maunga which will focus on pest and species management and infrastructure maintenance on the mountain, as well as the associated training for the young conservation professionals to deliver the work.
- Mangaiti Gully - A Hamilton-based organisation has received $653,359 for weed removal and riparian planting over three years in a gully within the city’s boundaries. Led by the Mangaiti Gully Restoration Trust and supported by the Waikato Environment Centre (Go Eco) it aims to enhance the Mangaiti Gully – part of Hamilton’s extensive gully network. The majority of work will be undertaken by a small team of four staff, including trainees and offender employment roles, overseen by the trust, and supported by Hamilton City Council’s Parks and Recreation Unit and the Department of Conservation. The four team members will be offered Wintec courses for work-related training and personal growth. The Trust have a number of valued volunteers who will also be contributing to the success of this restoration project.