Funding for Uawa River, estuary clean-up

  • Nick Smith

Gisborne’s Uawa River and estuary will get a clean-up with funding of $500,000 from the Te Mana o Te Wai fund, Environment Minister Dr Nick Smith and Māori Party co-leader Marama Fox announced today.

“The Government is committed to working with local communities, councils and iwi to improve water quality in our waterways. This funding will support fencing, planting, pest control and sustainable farm management practices in the Uawa catchment so as to improve water quality in the river and estuary,” Dr Smith says.

“This two-year, $575,000 project involves a partnership with local iwi, Tolaga Bay Area School, Massey University, the Gisborne District Council and the Allan Wilson Centre. The focus is not only on improving water quality but also on restoring whitebait spawning grounds and using the project for environmental and science education.

“The Government is committed to improving the quality of the Uawa River and estuary. This funding will go towards a $575,000 project which includes work such as fencing, planting, weed and pest control and development of sustainable farm and land management plans throughout the catchment,” Dr Smith says.

“Work will also be done on restoring whitebait spawning grounds, by surveying spawning grounds and fencing and planting of sites where they spawn. The two-year project also works towards increasing iwi capability in the management of freshwater resources by the development of training resources around water quality and restoration, public seminars and workshops and community-based monitoring of the health of the ecosystem.”

Mrs Fox says iwi and hapū had an important role to play as active partners in improving New Zealand’s fresh water, and that partnership and collaboration are key in ensuring positive and lasting gains.

“I welcome this opportunity for the local hapū and iwi to be able to continue their role as kaitiaki of the Uawa River and estuary. The basis of Te Mana o Te Wai is that healthy waterways support healthy environments, which in turn supports healthy whanau,” she says.

The Te Mana o Te Wai Fund was announced as part of Budget 2014 in partnership with the Māori Party. It provides $5 million over two years to support iwi and hapū-led initiatives to improve the quality of local freshwater systems.

The application for funding was made by the Uawanui Governance Group through the Te Aitanga A Hauiti Centre of Excellence Trust. Iwi, Te Aitanga A Hauiti and the wider community have developed a shared vision for the management of their Uawa catchment and coastline.

The balance of funding for the project will come from Tolaga Bay Area School, Massey University, Te Whare Hauora o Te Aitanga A Hauiti and the Allan Wilson Centre.