The Wairoa River is the focus of this year’s Eastland Group Wairoa Community Contestable Grants Scheme.
Now in its second year, the scheme supports Wairoa-based community-led projects. A total of $15,000 will be donated to five local groups in recognition of their Wairoa River focussed projects. Each organisation is set to receive $3000.
The winning projects are, Wairoa Community Ngahere Nursery (Nursery Establishment), Adventure Wairoa Inc (Waka Ama Project), Hinemihi Marae (Wairoa Awa Restoration Project), Ngati Kahungunu, Wairoa Taiwhenua Inc (Project Mauri Compass – Lower Waiau) and Ngati Kahungunu, Wairoa Taiwhenua Inc (Project Mauri Compass – Wairoa Hopupu).
The projects support education and community outreach initiatives as well as encouraging young people to engage in activities that promote healthy relationships with the Wairoa River.
Promoting the relevance and importance of the river in the lives of the Wairoa community is another focus of the projects.
Wairoa Mayor Craig Little said this year’s recipients are all playing an amazing part in protecting and restoring the river.
“I am thrilled to see the community on board protecting our awa for the whole of our district.
“Seeing people who care for our environment step up in a voluntary capacity is just fantastic.”
Katarina Kawana and Merianne Orlowski of Freshwater and Land Solutions Ltd and Kaitiaki Solutions said the generous financial support will allow the Waiau River and Wairoa Hopupu river groups to begin their projects.
The grant will assist in the purchase of the 2016 WWF Conservation Innovation award winning RiverWatch.nz probe – a water quality monitoring system.
The system is a low cost and robust with wireless networked data collection for the next generation of water quality monitoring.
The one-year pilot project has a cultural framework using the ‘Mauri Compass’ to navigate users of the river to reach wellbeing or Mauri ora.
The project will provide part-time employment and capture statistical data made available through a web application.
RiverWatch.nz will be available for members of the public to use once they have successfully completed a training course delivered by Freshwater and Land Solutions.
Trish Lambert, vice- chairperson of the Wairoa Community Ngahere Nursery was thrilled to have received a grant which will go towards materials to build the group’s first nursery which will enable native trees and plants to be propagated.
From there the trees and plants will be planted where the waterways and the land need healing.
“This grant has enabled us to start our project which is driven by voluntary labour. The group recently became registered as an Incorporated society and is now within sight of the required budget to commence building,” said Ms Lambert
Adventure Wairoa chairman Russell McCracken and committee member and waka ama advocate Christina Stockman said the group was very appreciative of the support it has received to promote its waka ama activities to Wairoa rangatahi.
They said one of the objectives of the grant is to look at the relationship young people have with our awa and the work they are doing with youth and waka ama ensures our young ones have a true appreciation of our awa.
“They have a relationship with the awa that is based on principles of kaitiakitanga and manaakitanga, looking after our awa as a taonga.”
Hinemihi Marae applicants said the kaupapa of the Wairoa Awa Restoration Project is to work under the umbrella of Hinemihi Marae to help restore the mauri of Te Wairoa Hopupu Honengenenge Matangirau.
They said this involves protecting the health by creating a marae-based nursery for riparian planting to grow natives, plant riparian and strengthen the banks which have been compromised for years, restoring the biodiversity and therefore wellbeing of not only the awa, but the people of Wairoa in a holistic way.
Eastland Group chief executive Matt Todd congratulated this year’s recipients for their vision and collaborative approach.
“We are delighted to work with the mayor and the council to ensure the grant has a positive wide-reaching impact. Every one of these groups is making a long-lasting contribution to the community, and the river as the heart of the community.”
Photo: Members of the Wairoa Community Ngahere Nursery were thrilled to receive confirmation to use Council land, situated behind the archives building, for the development of their nursery. Pictured are members with Wairoa District Council’s Luke Knight, Steven May and Mayor Craig Little.