Tuesday, July 16, 2024

Jobs for Nature funding a ‘game changer’

Conservation Minister, Kiri Allan, has announced Jobs for Nature funding for 12 projects that she says will create “game changing” gains for nature and communities across Northland/Te Tai Tokerau.

“This portfolio of 12 projects will see over $20 million invested into creating jobs and controlling predators in vitally important areas; protecting our forest giants, the kauri, restoring important dunes and wetland systems in the region, propagation and planting of indigenous species, weed control and species protection,” Minister Allan said,

“It will see a total of 324 roles established over a three-year programme, upskilling locals to move into other employment opportunities beyond the life of the projects.”

She said the investment provided a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to lay the foundations for a better future by creating tangible and long lasting benefits not only for the environment, but for communities who have borne the brunt of the economic impacts of the COVID pandemic.

“It is the result of collaboration between the community, local government and central government agencies to design and secure an investment that would be a game-changer for the region,” Minister Allan said.

“The projects will help build skills and confidence for opportunities beyond these projects, especially in some of the most remote areas in Northland/Te Tai Tokerau like Mitimiti, Panguru and Te Hapua.

“One of the projects is in the heart of Puketi and will employ 51 locals over three years in predator and pest control, work that ties in with their ongoing desire to protect and improve the health of this amazing kauri forest.”

Another of the projects – Te Komanga Whangaroa – involves working closely with local youth to provide training and enable 2300ha of pest control via trapping and bait stations targeting stoats, cats, possums, pigs and wilding pines in support of the wider community working towards a predator free Northland/Te Tai Tokerau.

“Our collective efforts mean that we are investing in creating jobs that have meaning and purpose by ensuring these communities can continue to be environmental guardians for future generations,” Ms Allan said.

Summary of funded projects announced:
  • Te Rūnanga–Ā-Iwi O Ngāpuhi and its Kaitiaki Kauri project ($0.84M)  aims to safeguard kauri across the Bay of Islands including Russell, Puketi, Whangaroa, Omahuta, Rakaumangamanga and Opua Forests.
  • Moemoea Puketi/Omahuta  ($3.01m) will see locals work in predator and pest control, empowering ngā hapu of Puketi/Omahuta and the Puketi Forest Trust in the management of the forest.
  • The Bay Bush Action project ($0.7m) will expand the biodiversity protection of Ōpua Forest from 500 hectares to the whole of the 2000 hectares using best practice multispecies pest control.
  • Te Komanga Whangaroa ($2.06m) project involves working closely with local youth to provide training and enable 2,300 ha of pest control via trapping and bait stations targeting stoats, cats, possums, pigs, and wilding pines in support of wider community working towards Predator Free 2050.
  • The implementation of the 20-year Forest Health Plan for the Russell ngāhere ($1.57m) will take the community closer to its long-term aim of eradication of predators.
  • Ngā Mana O Te Wai north of Kaitaia ($2.64m) will expand their restoration efforts in dune lakes, wetlands, rivers, and dune systems in the rohe of Ngāi Takoto.
  • Two projects within the rohe of Te Aupoūri ($2.99m) will address ecological pressures at key sites of cultural, social, and environmental significance, home to internationally significant plants, snails, and birds including the truly phenomenal kuaka (godwit).
  • Te Haumihi o Ngāti Kuri ($2.64m) will create jobs to further support the restoration and protection of some of Aotearoa’s most vulnerable tāonga species and habitats.  Funding will enable the establishment of biosecurity management across Te Haumihi and Te Ara Whānui which includes the very tip of the North, the Three Kings and Motuopao Islands, and surrounding marine environment.
  • Warawara Whakaora Ake ($2.21m) focuses on expanding current predator control efforts in the Warawara Forest ecosystem by a further 7,000 ha, totalling 9,000 ha under active management.
  • The Taiororua o Waipoua Project ($0.76m) aims to deliver a sustained and well-planned weed management plan for the Waipoua river, which is heavily burdened with pest plants such as ginger, tobacco weed, wilding pines, and more. 
  • The Whirinaki Awa Catchment project ($0.96m) aims to deliver ecological restoration outcomes and local employment opportunities in Whirinaki.

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