Jobs for Nature to deliver jobs and environmental benefits through four new projects with Ngā Papatipu Rūnanga o Ngāi Tahu

The Government is investing nearly $9 million in four iwi-led projects in the South Island through its Jobs for Nature programme. 

Land Information New Zealand (LINZ) has developed four strategic projects with Papatipu Rūnanga o Ngāi Tahu as part of its biosecurity and biodiversity programme.  

These projects will create enduring benefits for freshwater and biodiversity, and also support regional economies for the people who are invested in, and connected to, land managed by LINZ,” said Land Information Minister, Damien O’Connor. 

The projects involve a wide range of work including seed banking for braided river restoration, wetland restoration, invasive seaweed control at river mouths, and the creation of digital resources mapping the vegetation and waterways of Te Manahuna (the Mackenzie Basin), and the upper Rakaia and Rangitata rivers. 

The four projects support science-led training, large-scale landscape restoration, and the creation of more than 40 jobs over four years.

“Partnerships with iwi and community groups are central to many Jobs for Nature projects. The relationships underpinning the projects announced today will support the aspirations of mana whenua to achieve the best outcomes for people and the environment,” said Damien O’Connor.

Te Rūnanga o Hokonui — up to $4,225,000 over four years is expected to deliver 12—15 roles

Te Rūnanga o Hokonui will restore native plant and animal life across Southland’s Hokonui Hills by expanding a native seed bank and nursery and carrying out horticulture and ranger training.

“Through this project, the rūnanga is developing skills that will result in long-term gains for the environment, wildlife and community,” said Damien O’Connor.

“The priorities of the project reflect the holistic iwi approach to the environment and its intersection with people and health.

Te Rūnanga o Ngāi Tahu – up to $1,406,000 over four years is expected to deliver more than 15 jobs from year one.

Better environmental planning and decision-making are the expected outcomes of two projects being led by Te Rūnanga o Ngāi Tahu.

The first will expand an existing project to digitise maps of the original vegetation and waterways of Te Manahuna (the Mackenzie Basin), and the upper Rakaia and Rangitata rivers. This valuable information will be available to iwi, the public, and government agencies.

The second is a pilot researching control of the invasive seaweed Undaria Pinnatifida. This research will inform biodiversity planning for river mouths and estuaries, including those where LINZ has management responsibilities.

“These projects are examples of government and iwi working together and taking a science-led approach to looking after taonga lands and waterways,” said Damien O’Connor.

Te Rūnanga o Moeraki – up to $3,358,200 of funding over three years is  expected to deliver 9 roles.

Re-establishing native habitats, wetlands and mahinga kai from the mountains to the sea is the goal of a project being led by Te Rūnanga o Moeraki.

The work will establish riparian wetlands along the many braided rivers of the region.

“These areas have been badly impacted by the presence of pests and weeds and this work will help restore the cultural value of the area, while also improving biodiversity,” said Damien O’Connor.

He said that improving social, environmental, and economic outcomes for communities across New Zealand is at the heart of the $1.245 billion Jobs for Nature programme.