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Applications open for Ngāti Toa Rangatira and Greater Wellington’s fund that boosts community environmental projects

Applications are open for this year’s Community Environment Fund which supports community groups to restore, maintain and protect our native ecosystems, a joint initiative between Greater Wellington and Ngāti Toa Rangatira.

The fund supports local community groups who are protecting and restoring our environment on public land in the Te Awarua-o-Porirua whaitua area, from Churton Park to Pukerua Bay and inland of Pauatahanui.

Ngāti Toa Rangatira, general manager of Treaty and Strategic Relationships, Naomi Solomon says, "This is an important initiative that provides opportunities for our community to connect with our taiao in a way that is meaningful.

"It is also a very practical step towards meeting Ngāti Toa’s aspiration to restore the mauri of Te Awarua-o-Porirua which will have positive implications for us all," says Naomi Solomon.

The funding originates from Greater Wellington, with both Greater Wellington and Ngāti Toa Rangatira co-managing the allocation of the funds.

This year, two new aspects have been introduced to the assessment criteria which focus on how projects adapt to climate change, and improve opportunities for people to connect with the land and contribute to fulfilling the aspirations of the Ngāti Toa Statement.

Greater Wellington senior biodiversity advisor Jo Fagan says, “Every year we receive submissions from an impressive cohort of environmental projects, some are short in nature and others apply for up to three years of funding.”

Over the years, many groups have received support including the Aotea Conservation Volunteers, who over the last six years have transformed areas of Bothamley Park through weed control, planting and pest animal control.

“The group has noticed a huge increase in bird life in the area since they started restoring sites that were once overrun with blackberry and other weeds. They have worked extremely hard to restore Bothamley Park into a vibrant, healthy ecosystem for future generations to enjoy,” says Jo Fagan.

“Hongoeka Marae is another group to benefit from the fund, they have been clearing climbing asparagus and other weeds by hand from native bush around Hongoeka Bay, without using herbicides and other chemicals.

“They’ve used the fund for tools and equipment including animal traps and de-weeding equipment, so native plants can regenerate naturally without being smothered by weeds or eaten by pest animals,” says Jo Fagan.

Greater Wellington’s Catchment general manager, Wayne O’Donnell says, “At its core, this fund is about the community having the support and autonomy to nurture what they love most in their backyard, while connecting their hard mahi to wider catchment environmental goals.”

“We are encouraging all groups who fit the bill to apply for the Community Environment Fund, applications close on 17 September 2021,” says Wayne O'Donnell.

For more information on the Community Environment Fund: http://www.gwrc.govt.nz/communityfunding/

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