A big injection of Jobs for Nature funding will create much-needed jobs and financial security for families in TeTairāwhiti, and has exciting prospects for conservation in the region, Conservation Minister Kiri Allan says.
“The projects target local communities most affected by the economic consequences of COVID 19 and are designed to restore and protect a range of ecosystems as well as safeguard heritage sites with significant cultural value.
“They will create 165 new jobs over the next three years and provide fantastic training opportunities for those looking for pathways into a conservation career.
“The Government’s $14.7million will fund several projects which focus on waterway restoration through fencing and riparian planting, predator and pest control, re-establishment of native forest and indigenous species, ecological monitoring and data collection.
“Others involve the creation of nature corridors connecting pockets of native bush to encourage native bird populations to expand into new areas.
“And it’s great to see that re-invigorating cultural traditions and practices, developing leadership and small business acumen and growing ‘boots on the ground’ skills are also major elements.
“One initiative includes developing a plant nursery with traditional rongoa plants and other native species unique to Te Tairāwhiti, and working with local school kids on the importance of caring for the environment.
“Each initiative is Iwi-led and designed, enabling Iwi to bring their aspirations for their whenua and people to life while working with others in the community.
“Today’s announcement follows another recent funding boost for conservation work in the region, with $1million from our Jobs for Nature Community and Private Land Biodiversity funds going towards projects to protect native species and restoring habitats.
“It is a massive win for Te Tairāwhiti, an opportunity to deliver social and economic benefits in a post-Covid world, and super exciting for the future of our exceptionally beautiful region,” Kiri Allan said.
The four projects are:
Turanga Kaimahi mo te Taiao is a collaborative ecological regeneration partnership between the three Turanga Iwi which has received $10.9million to create 99 jobs over three years. Ngai Tamanuhiri, Rongowhakaata and Te Aitanga a Mahaki will work together across a variety of sites to increase and protect biodiversity through fencing, planting, and weed and pest management. They will also be carrying out restoration and protection work at cultural historic sites.
Waingake Ngāhere Ora has received an investment of $2million to create 33 jobs over three years; that will transform 1100ha of pine plantation in Waingake into indigenous forest, restoring lowland podocarp-broadleaf ecosystems and protecting the whenua that provides Tairāwhiti and Gisborne’s drinking water. This is led by Gisborne District Council, in partnership with mana whenua Maraetaha Incorporated, and supported by Tamanuhiri Tutu Poroporo Trust. The combined mahi of restoration planting, weed control and pest control will provide an integrated approach to protecting the headwaters of three significant catchments and restoring mauri through reducing sediment, lifting water quality, and upholding Te Mana o Te Wai.
Te Rau Oranga, led by the Mahia Restoration Trust, has received $1.4million for 18 jobs over three years, focused on protecting and restoring Mahanga Forest, Lake Rotopounamu, the Hine Rauiri stream, and two wetland areas. The work will involve planting of riparian margins and waterways, pest and predator control, and fencing. The project aims to develop Mahanga Forest, a recommended important historical site for Māori, into an educational area and develop a nursery for traditional Rongoa plants.
Te Rea (previously known as the Tairawhiti Agroecology Recovery Project or TARP) was piloted during the COVID lockdown of 2021 to provide economic assistance in rural communities through nature-based employment. Funding of $500k will allow this to continue for a further 12 months. Objectives are to achieve nature-based skills and training to build capacity and capability for kaimahi, driven by whanau/hapuu long term aspirations. A centralised hub provides wraparound support services required to ensure projects are soundly run from both an operational and governance perspective.