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Karioi Rāhui Project Yields Impressive Outcomes For Ruapehu Region

A flourishing environment and a skilled workforce ready to protect the taiao are the enduring legacies of Jobs for Nature project Karioi Rāhui in the Southern Ruapehu area.

Set up as part of government-led recovery efforts during the COVID-19 pandemic, the Jobs for Nature programme is reaching the end of its funding window, and projects are taking the opportunity to celebrate their successes.

DOC Tongariro Operations Manager George Taylor says Karioi Rāhui generated a valuable, highly skilled local workforce through its delivery arm – the Ngāti Rangi entity, Ngā Waihua o Paerangi (specifically Ruapehu WorX).

“They’ve been targeting animal and plant pests for the last three years, and frequently exceeding their targets in weeds control, rats, mustelids, even track maintenance,” says George. “As an example - with a goal of 12,300 hectares of possum control, kaimahi exceeded the target by an additional 1200 hectares. It’s been a resounding success across all categories.”

Pou Ārahi/Chief Executive of Ngā Waihua o Paerangi, Helen Leahy, agrees.

“In addition to these tangible benchmarks of delivery, a key initiative for the team has also been supporting local initiatives such as the Ruapehu College pathway into conservation.

“Rangatahi have contributed to tracking, setting traplines and cultural monitoring programmes at Lake Rangatauanui (Ohakune Forest Lakes Reserve) and Lake Rotokura.”

“We have loved the ripple effect that building local capability and capacity amongst uri has had, in terms of the community impact”.

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Ruapehu WorX kaimahi are qualified in a vast range of skills including outdoor first aid, chainsaw use, Growsafe Standard, wheels, tracks and rollers, weed control, hazard and risk management, and pest control management.

“Our kaimahi are committed to sharing their skills and experience back into the community,” says Helen. “With the Jobs for Nature funding reaching its end, we have an incredible workforce with the skills, competency, and experience to care for our taiao ready to take on new opportunities.

“Our environment; our local economy; our greater community has benefitted from the difference made by Jobs for Nature.

“Our challenge to businesses, to organisations and to our community is this: help us keep this value in our rohe.

“Jobs for Nature was always going to come to an end, but the impact of the programme doesn’t have to.”

Manaaki Taiao worker, Johnny Richards, with one of the stoats caught through the Karioi Rāhui traps. Photo credit: D Brooks

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