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Te Arawa Lakes Trust To Lead Nature Based Employment Pilot

Te Arawa Lakes Trust has received $2.5 million in funding to support the creation of new jobs post COVID-19 – while also enabling and accelerating environmental projects that will deliver wider economic, social and cultural benefits.

The funding, part of the Government’s $1.3 billion Jobs for Nature programme, was announced by Minister for Conservation and Land Information, Eugenie Sage, at an event at Tamatekapua in Rotorua this morning <>.

The Te Arawa Lakes Trust funding will kickstart a wetlands restoration pilot project in collaboration with hapū, iwi and landowners. The kaupapa will create eight jobs in the first phase.

The pilot was part of an innovative and ambitious proposal – Mauri Tu Mauri Ora Te Arawa – that was developed during the Level 4 lockdown to generate new job opportunities by advancing environmental projects.

Te Arawa Lakes Trust Chairman, Tā Toby Curtis says the Trust hopes this kaupapa will be just the start as it seeks to match people with jobs following the COVID-19 crisis, and achieve greater environmental outcomes.

“COVID-19 significantly impacted our people, many of whom relied on tourism, hospitality and service industries for employment. While this kaupapa has been in planning for some time, it is even more relevant now as it will also deliver valuable, high impact jobs across areas we have been unable to prioritise with existing resources.

“The project directly aligns with Te Arawa values and supports the important mahi the Te Arawa COVID-19 Hub is doing in the workforce recovery area.”

The Te Arawa COVID-19 Hub has already collaborated with the Ministry of Social Development and Lakes DHB to host three iwi relationship coordinators to support people through social services, development and employment.

“No one organisation can change the world on its own. But by working together with different organisations, entities and hapū we can protect, educate and create employment opportunities to better the economy, environment and community post COVID-19.” says Tā Toby.

Te Arawa Lakes Trust Environment Manager, Nicki Douglas says the first project will start at Whakapoukorero in Maketu.

“The whole premise behind Mauri tū, Mauri ora Te Arawa is founded on the core principles of collaboration and partnership in order to achieve far-reaching outcomes.

“These are important ecosystems in the Te Arawa rohe.

“This kaupapa will not only upskill and engage our whānau as Hunga Tiaki and forge stronger connections with our environment, it will also replenish the mauri of our wai, our whenua and our whakapapa.”

Te Arawa Lakes Trust is responsible for the sustainable management of 14 lakes within the wider Rotorua region, including Lake Rotorua and Lake Rotoiti. The lakebeds were returned to Te Arawa under the 2006 Te Arawa Lakes Settlement Act, with the Trust established in 2007 to manage its assets.

The Te Arawa COVID-19 Hub was established within hours of the Alert Level 4 Lockdown being announced on 23 March, with marae, hapū, health, business and community organisations across Te Arawa coming together to support whānau through the immediate crisis and beyond.

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