A range of conservation projects funded by the Government’s Jobs for Nature programme include the enhancement of wetland areas, the restoration of the mana of a famous naturally spring, the maintenance of a native plant nursery, and the protection of native species by reducing predators.
Kiri Allan, Conservation Minister, stated that what really impressed her about the projects was their ability to build on existing conservation work or seek out lost natural heritage or important taonga species. She also said that they are committed to training new staff.
“Te Mauri o Waihou is a great project by Raukawa iwi that aims to restore Te Puna – The Blue Springs – near Putaruru. It’s an area with high visitor numbers that has seen the gradual decline of a truly stunning location.
“Ng waio Te Nehenenui is a Wai Ora River Care Initiative that will see more then 40,000 native trees planted in Maniapoto. The project involves riparian management on both Mori-owned and private land.
“Pest control and weed management are the main focus for the Waipapa Pickiriki project. A local company has volunteered to help save several endangered native species, including the North Island kkako as well as Preora forest whio. Four new field roles are being created to help upskill workers and give practical qualifications for a career as a pest manager.
“Meanwhile, investment in Sanctuary Mountain Maungatautari’s work – a continental ecological island south-of Cambridge surrounded with one of the longest pest-proof fencings in the world – provides funding to four conservation cadet jobs.
“An urban conservation project led by the Mangaiti Restoration Trust, supported by the Waikato Environment Centre(Go Eco), also receives a funding boost to support its efforts in enhancing Mangaiti Gully which is home to a resident longtail bat population.
“COVID-19 has had a remarkable impact on our community. It’s extremely satisfying that the Jobs for Nature program, now that the economy is reopening, is helping to generate employment in a field that plays such a vital role in protecting the country’s biodiversity into the future,” Kiri Allen said.
Overview of the Projects
Raukawa Charitable Trust leads Te Mauri o Waihou, to restore and preserve Te Puna/The Blue Spring. It is located near Putaruru. Te Puna used to be a “hidden jewel”, but it is now a popular tourist attraction. Over three years, 14 people will be employed by the $993,000 investment. Work includes visitor infrastructure to reduce visitor impacts on native fauna and flora, biodiversity, environmental plans and monitoring, pest control, and revegetation.
Ng wai to Te Nehenenui is a Wai Ora River Care initiative that aims at the restoration and revitalization of waterways in Te Nehenenui (Maniapoto). The $405,000 project is funded for one year. Six existing staff will continue to work in the Mkau catchment to plant and propagate native plants. This will address historical changes in land usage.
Waipapa Pikiriki is a two-year project delivering ecologically-friendly pest and weed control by Kaitiaki Pest Control Solutions. $760,000 funding will enable effective pest control on 3388 hectares in Pureora’s Pikiriki and Waipapa Blocks. This will help to protect an area of cultural and environmental importance and home to many endangered taonga species.
Maungatautari Ecological Island Trust was awarded $589,416 to fund four conservation cadet roles on the Maunga. They will be responsible for pest and species management, infrastructure maintenance, and training the young conservation professionals who will deliver the work.
Mangaiti Gully – Hamilton-based charity has received $6533,359 to remove weeds and plant riparians over three years within a gully that is within the city’s limits. Led by the Mangaiti Gully Restoration Trust and supported by the Waikato Environment Centre (Go Eco) it aims to enhance the Mangaiti Gully – part of Hamilton’s extensive gully network. A small team of four staff will do the majority of the work, including trainees and offender jobs. They will be supported by Hamilton City Council’s Parks and Recreation Unit and Department of Conservation. Wintec courses will also be offered to the team members as a way to grow and learn in their work environment. Trust has many valued volunteers who will be helping to make this restoration project a success.
(With Inputs From New Zealand Government Press release)