Gisborne's East Cape has received a $5 million funding boost from the One Billion Trees Fund to address key environmental issues in the Waiapu Catchment, Forestry Minister Shane Jones has announced.
The cash injection will go towards a package of four projects, led by Whakaoratia te mana o te Waiapu – a partnership between Te Wiwi Nati Trust and Te Riu o Waiapu Trust Partnership – which will be delivered over the next 10 years.
"With support from the One Billion Trees Fund, this partnership is a significant step forward to restoring and future proofing one of East Cape's most rapidly eroding catchments," Mr Jones said.
"We have a duty to communities in 'at risk' catchments like the Waiapu to do more. If nothing is done, there will be significant social, economic and environmental costs for the community."
The projects will include "the construction of a series of debris dams across the Waiapu catchment, a river corridor project, establishment of a nursery to support riparian planting, and capacity building of employees in the region," he said.
"Through these projects, we will see erosion control and better water quality, protection of the catchment, and social and economic gains for iwi and landowners."
The Gisborne District Council will also provide a $1 million in-kind contribution to the project.
The extra funding will also allow the Te Wiwi Nāti Trust and Te Riu o Waiapu Trust Partnership to protect their land for future generations, Trust representative Hilton Collier said.
"We are appreciative of the contributions from Government and Gisborne District Council to elevate the work of whānau and hapu with this generous koha.
“As kaitiaki and mana whenua of the Waiapu, our duty is to ensure we build on the legacy of our tipuna and to leave our land and water for the benefit of our descendants."