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Greater Wellington Wetland And Rivers Get $10 Million Boost

Greater Wellington wetlands and rivers are getting a vital $10m boost from the Government’s post-Covid-19 jobs for nature programme.

The Ruamāhanga catchment and the Wairarapa Moana Wetlands project will be targeted through the funding, with Greater Wellington Regional Council contributing approximately $4m on top of the Government’s $6m investment.

Riparian activities for the Ruamāhanga catchment will provide flood protection resilience and buffer planting through native and exotic planting alongside the upper Ruamāhanga, Waingawa and Waipoua Rivers and will lead to improved ecosystems, carbon sequestration and water quality. 

Wairarapa Moana activities will include over 60ha of native planting, scaled up pest plant and animal control, extension of school and community group programmes, development of visitor facilities at Lake Domain, Lake Ferry and other key sites, and increased environmental and cultural research and monitoring. 

Greater Wellington Chair Daran Ponter says the investment is wise.

“In the first instance this funding boost will bring forward works that will provide a much needed boost to employment in the region, while at the same time strengthening our resilience against floods, improving water quality and enabling a critical first step to managing the effects of climate change,” says Chair Ponter.

Wairarapa Councillor and Greater Wellington Deputy-chair Adrienne Staples says the Wairarapa Moana Wetlands funding is timely considering the Government’s application for Ramsar status.

“Wairarapa Moana is an important ecosystem of 10,000 hectares, home to indigenous fish, birds and native plants. We’ve learned a lot over the years working with landowners, iwi, local hapū, local authorities and the community­ in protecting this taonga (sacred treasure) and to restoring it back to health.

“This funding will provide much needed jobs and will also help further mitigate impacts from climate change and flood risks, improve human health through connection with nature, enhance of indigenous biodiversity and uphold cultural values.

“Visitors from across New Zealand and the globe seek out this wetland to enjoy recreational activities, learn about the unique ecology and delve into its rich history. Raising the profile and value of wetlands like this will hopefully support the process of identifying and protecting more throughout the region,” says Deputy-chair Staples.

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