The Government is throwing its support behind projects aimed at restoring a cluster of eco-islands and habitats in the Manawatū which were once home to kiwi and whio.
“The projects, which stretch from the Ruahine Ranges to the Horowhenua coastline, will build on conservation efforts already underway and contribute to an ongoing legacy in the region,” Minister of Conservation Kiri Allan said.
“The ultimate goal of one of the projects is to restore the whole of the Southern Ruahine area as kiwi habitat through an extensive trapping network. They are starting small but with a number of other groups already undertaking pest management work in the area it’s expected translocation of kiwi could begin within a few years.
Another two projects are focused around the Ruahine ranges, which have been heavily browsed by pest animals including deer and possums, and will complement long standing volunteer work by the Whio Protectors as well as extending the area of predator control.
“Several coastal wetland and dune areas will also be restored, creating clusters of safe habitats – or ‘eco-islands’ – for taonga species, including the powelliphanta snail, while reestablishment of riparian habitats will contribute to mountain-to-sea nature corridors.
“These oases of nature at the foot of the Tararua and Ruahine ranges are rare and every single one deserves protection. I am super proud that Jobs for Nature can play a part in that, while at the same time supporting local communities, businesses and workers in their efforts to do the same,” Kiri Allan said.
The five projects receiving $7.2m of Jobs for Nature funding are:
Muaūpoko Ki Uta Ki Tai will employ up to 19 people over two years. The project will allow the Muaūpoko Tribal Authority to build environmental capacity and capability. There are two field-based projects, the Kohitere Nursery and Te Taiao team. The nursery work will supply locally sourced endemic plants for riparian restoration work. When the project begins, a Cultural Advisory Team will be established to monitor cultural health and respond to a number of large-scale projects across their rohe.
Whakahaumaru Te Whenua is a project run by Ngā Kaitiaki O Ngāti Kauwhata Incorporated and will employ 12 people over two years. This project will establish a team to increase the educational, training, employment and cultural capacity of Ngāti Kauwhata. The team will restore and protect Ngāti Kauwhata lands along the Oroua River and its tributaries through predator control and plantings from a project nursery.
Rangitāne o Manawatū Tinorangatiritanga will employ five people over three years. This project will significantly increase the capacity of Te Ao Turoa Environmental Centre – the Environmental Arm of Rangitāne o Manawatū. The funding will support riparian restoration of the Manawatū River catchment, as well as predator control in the Pohangina and southwestern perimeter of the Ruahine. The predator control work compliments a network of projects in the Ruahine to secure habitats for return of Kiwi.
Haumanu Ūkaipo is being led by Te Rūnanga o Ngā Wairiki Ngāti Apa, which will employ 12 people over three years. The project will undertake extensive pest eradication work, plant native species – including riparian in wetland areas – and build and maintain tracks and fencing. Ngā Wairiki Ngāti Apa aim to propagate some of the rare plant species found in their rohe, undertake plantings, and carry out pest plant and animal control in a cluster of wetlands, forming an ‘eco-island’ for taonga species. The project is integrated into an existing education, training, and employment platform.
Southern Ruahine Kiwi Habitat Restoration aims to secure habitat for the return of kiwi to the Southern Ruahine. The project is led by Environment Network Manawatu Incorporated on behalf of Manawatū River Source to Sea and Te Kāuru, Eastern Manawatū River Hapū Collective, and will employ 8 people over three years. This project will create jobs for professional and community trappers to help whio and kiwi recovery by removing stoats and other pests from strategic sections of the southern Ruahine forest (upper Pohangina and Oroua Catchments).