Waikato Regional Council (WRC) has granted over $1 million to 3 Coromandel community groups working on landscape scale predator control projects.
WRC’s Community Restoration Committee Natural Heritage Fund approved grants to:
- Moehau Environment Group’s field operations for landscape predator control ($400,000 over four years)
- Whenuakiwi Trust’s Whenuakite Kiwi Care Project ($248,707 over four years)
- Te Ara Hou Kennedy Bay Ltd’s Pukewharariki Ngahere and Wai Landscape Restoration Project ($390,038 over four years)
Two other groups in the Waikato also received funding.
All the projects are collaborations between many parties, including landowners, Māori, the Department of Conservation, communities, councils and local businesses, and all include volunteer labour ranging from 300 to 6000 hours per year. This funding will create at least six fulltime jobs a year for four years to help support economic recovery in the Waikato.
The fund is built up by a targeted rate of $5.80 per property in the region, with unallocated funding carried over to the following financial year.
Moehau landscape predator control $400,000
Moehau Environment Group (MEG) has undertaken community-driven, large-scale pest control and biodiversity management projects in the northern Coromandel for over 15 years, on about 15,000ha of private landowner and public conservation land. MEG has about 50 active volunteers. This funding will help pay for staff on the ground, 3200ha of possum control, 11,950ha of mustelid control (trapping), the Port Charles’ Rat Attack programme and Waikawau Wetland rodent and cat control.
Chair Lettecia Williams said MEG’s projects were long term and “we can’t walk away from them”. “This funding will enable us to sustain our long-term environmental gains and operations … protecting more biodiversity for longer.”
Whenuakite Kiwi Care Project $248,707
Whenuakiwi Trust has been protecting Coromandel brown kiwi on 3554ha of private and public conservation land in the Whenuakite area, between Hot Water Beach and Tairua, since 2000. The area is a stronghold for kiwi (about 133 pairs) and has large populations of kēreru (flocks of over 100 birds) and kākā, and bittern and pateke. The project has about 30 active volunteers. This funding will help cover the operation manager’s wages and some material costs, such as replacement traps, bait and office equipment.
Whenuakiwi Trust fundraiser and trapper Janice Hinds said “this is our forever project”. “We love what we are doing. This money will sustain us for four years and keep our kiwi safe.”
Pukewharariki Ngahere and Wai Landscape Restoration Project $390,038
Te Ara Hou Kennedy Bay Ltd, the environmental arm of Te Ahi Kaa (Ngāti Porou’s Hauraki training and social service unit), was established in 2019. Its new mountain to the sea project is on 1179ha of Maori, private landowner and public conservation land. The aim is to create environmental, cultural and social change in people for the health and wellbeing of future generations by using te ao Māori, mātauranga, manaakitanga, whakawhanaungatanga, western science and conservation strategies. This funding will pay for two manager positions (pest control coordination and a matauranga Māori unit), administration, staff training, traps, bait stations, bait and contractor time and willow control.
Te Ara Hou Kennedy Bay Ltd manager Nicholas Hamon said Kennedy Bay was once a wealthy community but had become depressed. The funding would help the community to step up and look after their own environment and get back their cultural identity. “We have some of the best history around, and by training and upskilling our people we can turn our scenery into mātauranga Māori and create tourism opportunities. It’s a true kaitiaki vision.”