$8.5 million Awarded for ‘Jobs for Nature’ in the Waikanae River Catchment

Kāpiti Coast District Council says it’s delighted an unprecedented $8.5 million in Jobs for Nature funding will be coming to the district over the next four years.

The Department of Conservation has awarded the funding to create 92 jobs for environmental restoration in the catchment.

Work starts next year

Work on native afforestation, fencing and pest animal and weed control will kick off in 2021 and Council has been invited to put forward proposals for work on council-owned land.

The Waikanae River is 50 kilometres north of Wellington on the Kāpiti Coast. The river flows from the Tararua Ranges and drains a total catchment area of 125 kilometres before discharging into the sea at Waikanae beach.

The river is a popular recreational spot for swimming, fishing, camping and dog walking. It is also used as a potable water supply for the Waikanae Township. 

Greater Wellington Regional Council monitors the environmental health of the river at four locations within the catchment, and recreational quality at two of these locations. 

A bid for funding was made by the local Department of Conservation office with support from Kāpiti Coast District Council, Greater Wellington Regional Council and Ātiawa ki Whakarongotai.

Mayor says funding comes at a critical time

Kāpiti Mayor K Gurunathan says the investment comes at a crucial time for both ecological and employment benefit.

Kapiti’s Mayor K Gurunathan

“We’ve never seen such a significant central Government investment in conservation in Kāpiti so this is huge win for the coast,” Mayor Gurunathan says.

“This will supercharge work to restore our native ecosystem and provide an important employment boost. Half of the 92 jobs are earmarked for iwi and will provide opportunities at all skill levels.

“The outcomes of this investment will help enhance the mana of our land and people. I can’t wait to see this work begin.”

Waikanae ki Uta ki Tai — Mountains to the Sea

Photo — Nicholas Cull

Council Biodiversity Manager Rob Cross says the success of the bid was founded on the Waikanae ki Uta ki Tai (Waikanae Mountains to the Sea) programme initiated last year.

“Across the district a number of agencies including Council, volunteer groups and individuals are working to enhance our natural environment. In some cases, projects have been active for many years,” Mr Cross says.

“This investment will take the tremendous efforts of volunteers and workers to another level in what is an important natural asset.

“The Waikanae River catchment is a nationally important taonga and the potential for its ongoing improvement is significant.

“We can expect to see improved water quality, a thriving natural landscape and greater biodiversity as a result of this work.”

Kāpiti Coast District Council will work with its partners to identify suitable land for planting, including on some Council-owned land.

Visit doc.govt.nz/our-work/jobs-for-nature–mahi-mo-te-taiao/ for more information about the Jobs for Nature programme, and doc.govt.nz/our-work/freshwater-restoration/nga-awa/waikanae-river-restoration/ for more on Waikanae ki Uta ki Tai.

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