A Waitomo-based Jobs for Nature project will keep up to 10 people employed in the village as the tourism sector recovers post-COVID-19, Conservation Minister Kiri Allan said today.
“This $500,000 project will save 10 local jobs by deploying workers from Discover Waitomo into nature-based jobs,” the Minister said.
“They will be undertaking local track maintenance and improve the Ruakuri bush walk and scenic reserve and other culturally significant areas.”
Discover Waitomo’s parent company – Tourism Holdings Limited (THL) – is a key employer in the area.
“The workers will also carry out pest control and dune restoration on the Kiritehere/Kawhia coast as well as riparian planting as part of the Marokapa river enhancement project with the Waikato Regional Council,” Ms Allan said.
“The project will create an engaged pool of locals in the region who are passionate about conservation, well trained, and work in a seasonal industry in which they will have an ongoing ability to participate in conservation work and train others.”
As well as its strategic importance to the Waitomo region, the Discover Waitomo attractions themselves are one of the most sought after and iconic natural attractions in New Zealand with deep connections to the local hapū.
All projects relating to the caves and the Waitomo region are developed in consultation with the hapū.
Waitomo District – with attractions like the famous glow worm caves, black water rafting and forest experiences – has traditionally been heavily reliant on international tourists as a key contributor to the local economy.
“This project is not just about protecting and enhancing our environment for future generations, it is about supporting the community into the future,” Minister Allan said