One Billion Trees Programme protecting national tāonga

The Government is committed to supporting a Northland iwi establish a native tree sanctuary on ancestral land, Forestry Minister Shane Jones has announced.

“Ngāti Rēhia will receive $170,000 funding from the One Billion Trees Fund to plant 34 hectares of riparian and coastal land at Takou Bay in native trees,” Shane Jones said.

“Takou is significant as it is the resting place of one of our great waka – Mataatua. This whenua is tāonga, rich in history, and over the next two and a half months 30,000 seedlings will be planted to help deliver important biodiversity and environmental benefits.

“Some of the seedlings will be sourced from Ngati Whare’s Minginui Nursery in the Bay of Plenty, who also whakapapa back to Mataatua.

“Today, I am making the journey across the Takou River to help plant some of the native trees on the land. These trees will complement Ngati Rehia’s overall aspirations to develop a Kauri Sanctuary at Takou Bay.

“One of the goals of the One Billion Trees Programme is to support Māori to realise the potential of their land and this project goes right to the heart of this.

“We are committed to working with Ngāti Rēhia to provide a safe haven for our tāonga.” Shane Jones said.

Notes to editor:

In 2018, Government funding of $288,000 was committed to a partnership between Ngāti Rēhia and Scion to determine whether ancestral land in Takou Bay was free of Kauri Dieback.

This involved soil testing and analysis for Kauri Dieback. The feasibility study was one of the first of its kind to determine whether kauri, or other native species, could be successfully established in Northland and remain disease free.

A further $50,000 was then committed to protect the area once it was found to be suitable for a Kauri Sanctuary. This allowed fences to be built, paths to be cleared, and signage to be added to the boundaries.

The project has also included training and education opportunities for locals in establishing and managing indigenous forests.