A collective of six marae on the East Coast is to receive funding to help restore ecosystems within their hapu.
The Hikurangi Takiwa Trust will receive $83,000 over three years from the Department of Conservation Community Conservation Partnership Fund for a restoration project "Tieki Te Taiao o Te Takiwa." The project is focused on land blocks, waterways and communities around Whareponga, Hiruharama, Whakapaurangi and Makarika.
This is a practical on-the-ground conservation project which will see a difference in their rohe (area), working together with other stakeholders says Conservation Partnership Manager, Ms De-Arne Sutherland. "This is an example of a hapu community-led project with support from DOC."
Ms Pia Pohatu, Environmental Researcher and Trustee says the Trust wants to progress environmental protection initiatives that restore natural habitat for plants and animals within their hapu. "The project provides an opportunity to focus efforts as kaitieki and links closely with the economic, cultural, health and educational priorities of our hapu."
"A comprehensive assessment of the state of the environment within our hapu will be used to plan and prioritise restoration projects which add most value to the future well-being of the area and our whanau," says Ms Pohatu.
Murray Palmer (Nga Mahi Te Taiao) with two other environmental scientists working with Makarika School
The Trust will work with landowners, marae and schools in the area supported by the Department of Conservation, Gisborne District Council, Te Runanganui o Ngati Porou and other agencies that hold relevant information about the area.
The project involves collating technical information such as land cover, climate, soil and water quality utilising Geographic Information System mapping to produce hapu-relevant maps and aids to better understand the hapu estate.
"We are very excited about this work and collaborating with Te Papa Atawhai, landowners and other organisations. It will strengthen our connections with our hapu lands and waters, and leave an improved environmental legacy that our children and grandchildren can continue to enhance," says Ms Pohatu.
In association with Maori Incorporations and ahuwhenua trusts, property owners and residents in the hapū area, a Hapū State of the Environment Report will be produced. The report will include recommended priority conservation projects for the next two years and the DOC funding will assist with this work.
This project is one of three East Coast applications successful in the first allocation for the new Community Conservation Partnership Fund.
The Community Conservation Partnership Fund was announced in March this year and provides $26 million over the next four years to community organisations undertaking natural heritage and recreation projects. The Fund will support hundreds of projects on public and private land.
Hikurangi Takiwa Trust represents a collective of six marae within the Te Aitanga-a-Mate, Te Aowera and Te Whanau A Rakairoa hapu area on the East Coast.