Date: 07 July 2021
The Government is providing support for a Ngati Manawa-led project to protect and enhance a popular Murupara trail, Department of Conservation Whakatane Operations Manager Jade King-hazel says.
The iwi has long held a desire to link the town from Kani Rangi Park through to Whirinaki Te Pua-a-Tāne Conservation Park by completing a 15 km walking track along the Rangitaiki riverbank.
The Rangitaiki Taniwha Trails project has been allocated $441,000 Jobs for Nature funding to create an additional four full time equivalent roles over a two-year period, which will allow for further track building, continued planting of 60,000 native trees, and pest management and monitoring.
“For eight people already employed and busy doing the mahi, there will be an immediate boost over and above the benefits of working on land with which they have a deep cultural connection. This boost will be by way of an increase from the minimum wage to the living wage.
“The four new FTE roles being created will join eight others who are already employed and busy doing the mahi. All 12 receive a living wage.
“This will make a substantial difference in Murupara, and the mahi itself will make a valuable contribution to restoring native habitat in an area dominated by exotic pine plantations.”
The project plan for Rangitaiki Taniwha Trails covers environmental rehabilitation through extensive planting and pest control.
Ultimately the project will create a trail linking Murupara to Whirinaki Te Pua-a-Tāne Conservation Park along a restored, pest-free corridor.
Along with meaningful connection to sites of significance for Ngati Manawa uri, the project will also deliver recreational opportunities for manuhiri (visitors) and tangible improvements to the freshwater quality and ecology of the Rangitaiki River.
“This really is what Mahi mō te Taiao is all about,” Ms King-Hazel said.
“Jobs which improve people’s physical and mental wellbeing as well as improving the natural world that sustains us all.”
The Rangitaiki Taniwha Trails project has been underway for several years already.
It is led by Te Runanga o Ngati Manawa with the support of Te Uru Rakau, Ministry of Social Development, Department of Conservation/Te Papa Atawhai, and Bay of Plenty Regional.
The Government’s Mahi mō te Taiao | Jobs for Nature programme is a $1.219 billion investment in the creation of 11,000 nature-based jobs.
As a part of this programme the Department of Conservation will allocate $488 million to projects that will create nature-based job opportunities for approximately 6,000 people over a four-year period.
It is supercharging the conservation efforts of the Department of Conservation, iwi and hapū, councils, and the wider community to implement kaitiakitanga. This funding will help restore the mauri and mana of Te Taiao (our nature) by controlling pests and weeds, restoring wetlands, and returning native bush, rivers, and streams to health.
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