Te Rūnanga o Ngāti Mutunga has gained a $48,144 grant from the Community Fund for a range of work in the Taramoukou Conservation Area in the northern Taranaki.
Ngāti Mutunga Environmental Officer Marlene Benson says the iwi organisation signed a Community Agreement early in 2020 with the Department of Conservation (DOC), and the funding and resulting work will be an important step forward.
The funding received will help pay for more tracks and the installation of more than 150 predator traps.
The work is part of a wider ecosystem restoration Ngāti Mutunga has planned, to restore the mauri of the forest and wetland and protect the habitat of important taonga species such as western brown kiwi, mātātā (fern birds) and matuku (bittern)
Ngāti Mutunga Environmental Officer Anne-Maree McKay says: “We are looking forward to re-establishing our relationship with this special area as tangata whenua. The establishment of cultural monitoring, pest control, and species survey programmes are some of the ways we intend to do this.”
The Rūnanga has previously been actively involved in pest control on other smaller sites within its rohe and has forged relationships with other conservation and environmental organisations, including Taranaki Regional Council, Restore Taranaki, and Kiwis for Kiwi and Tiaki Te Mauri o Parininihi Trust.
DOC’s Taranaki District Community Senior Ranger Jacob Stenner says the 2020 CCF funding for Te Rūnanga o Ngāti Mutunga represents an important early investment in the iwi’s conservation aspirations.
“It’s daunting for many organisations to take on a conservation project, so to receive financial support of this kind will help with the momentum and commitment the Rūnanga is already displaying.
“This is very encouraging for an organisation with a strong connection to the forest and a desire to enhance it. We’re looking forward to working with them in the long-term.”
The Department of Conservation has a Tiakina Ngā Manu predator control work planned for later this year, including Taramoukou. The Tiakina Ngā Manu operations protect taonga bird species from predation by rats, possums and stoats, and involve ground-based trapping and aerial operations.
The DOC Community Fund was established in 2014 to support community-led conservation projects on public and private land. Funds are directed towards practical projects aimed at conserving New Zealand’s indigenous biodiversity. This includes initiatives focused on restoring natural habitats and populations of our native species. More than $33 million has been awarded to over 600 different conservation projects in the first five DOC Community Fund funding rounds.
The current funding round was opened in February 2020 with a call for applications focussed on projects that restore the diversity of native plants and wildlife, including, pest control, habitat restoration and weed management.