Minister announces fresh funding for community-led Hokianga environment project

  • Hon Eugenie Sage

A unique project enhancing the mana and wellbeing of the environment and the people of the Hokianga is to receive $300000 over three years from the Ministry for the Environment’s Community Environment Fund.  Associate Minister for the Environment Eugenie Sage made the announcement at a kiwi protection workshop at Ōpara in the south Hokianga today.

The He Ripo Kau project Kaitiaki Kiwi is sponsored by Reconnecting Northland, a regional connectivity conservation programme. 

He Ripo Kau partner groups work on kiwi protection, wetland and freshwater habitat restoration, pest and weed control and regenerative land-use practices.

“I am delighted to announce funding support for the He Ripo Kau project, which is undertaking practical work to look after nature in Northland,” says Eugenie Sage.

“The Community Environment Fund is set up to empower New Zealanders to make a positive difference to the environment, and I see this project doing just that.

“While the Hokianga has a small population, importantly it also celebrates its indigenous biodiversity and the plants and wildlife which are distinctive to Northland and New Zealand.

 “In the past, disconnected, isolated projects have meant restoration efforts have not always been efficient. 

“This is where He Ripo Kau comes in. The project aims to provide strategic planning and leadership, education, capacity building and engagement so that project partners can work together in a meaningful and mana enhancing way.

“The kaupapa of He Ripo Kau is to bring together and optimise the collective power of existing and future community-led initiatives.

“The scale and vision of He Ripo Kau is consistent with the Government’s determination to better care for our environment, by protecting our biodiversity, improving water quality and tackling climate change,” says Eugenie Sage.

The He Ripo Kau project has 33 partners within the Hokianga, including conservation groups, hapū, iwi and local schools.

The new funding allows for an on-the-ground coordinator, project-based education, training opportunities and access to geospatial mapping data to aid planning, decision making and monitoring.

Apart from the Community Environment Fund, the He Ripo Kau project has received funding contributions from the Northland Regional Council, Te Puni Kōkiri and Reconnecting Northland for programme delivery, while some project partners have received direct funding from the Department of Conservation and Foundation North, among others.