Government provides more funding for major community wetland restoration project

Restoration efforts for a significant wetland in the Hawke’s Bay are getting more support announced Associate Minister for the Environment Eugenie Sage.

“Wetlands are vital to healthy landscapes and ecosystems. They function as nature’s ‘kidneys’, filtering and protecting water quality, acting as nature’s sponges after rain and are home to many of indigenous plants and wildlife. It’s crucial that we preserve these natural taonga”, said Eugenie Sage.

Today an extra $462,000 is being invested in restoring nature in the Hawke’s Bay as part of the Government’s wider plan to restore wetlands and improve freshwater quality.

“Today I’m pleased to announce that the project to restore the Lower Taipo Stream wetland will be extended thanks to a $200,000 grant from the Ministry for the Environment’s Community Environment Fund to Hohepa Hawke’s Bay.

“Hohepa Hawke’s Bay have been doing some fantastic job restoration work in the first two years six hectares of wetland was successfully restored with the help of Hohepa residents. The extra Government funding will enable a further four hectares of wetland to be restored.

“I’m also delighted that a $250,000 grant from Te Uru Rākau’s One Billion Trees fund will enable Nga Kaitiaki o Hohepa Nursery to grow 90,000 native seedlings to support the restoration of Taipo Stream and other sites around Te Whanganui a Orotū /Ahuriri Estuary.

$12,000 from the DOC Community Fund has also been awarded to develop a pest management strategy to create a predator-free habitat for Te Whanganui a Orotū /Ahuiri Estuary wetland.

The Taipo stream flows into Te Whanganui a Orotū /Ahuriri Estuary which is a 470-hectare sanctuary for native water birds, fish, invertebrates and plants and is currently managed by the Department of Conservation (DOC).

“This growing, planting, weeding, pest control and restoration work improves the health of the estuary which is an important habitat for more than 70 species of wildlife including inanga and birds such as the kuaka/ bar tailed godwit and the most threatened gull in the world the tarapuka/ black-billed gull. It is also a major feature of the cycle trail network enjoyed by local residents and visitors,” said Eugenie Sage.

“The project continues to provide paid and voluntary work opportunities for 25 people living with disabilities, who are involved in land preparation, pest control, collecting seeds and growing eco-sourced native plants, planting, care and maintenance of the wetland.

“Everyone should have the opportunity to contribute to their community and to a better future for Aotearoa New Zealand, I’m proud that Government funding and three Government agencies are helping to support a project that does that.”

The restoration project will continue to involve and work closely with iwi, regional councils, the Department of Conservation, landowners and local schools to restore the area.

Hohepa Hawke’s Bay is owned by the Hohepa Homes Trust, which has provided homes, education, voluntary and paid jobs for people living with disabilities around New Zealand since 1957.