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Catchment groups’ $1.1m boost

Wainuioru River. PHOTO/FILE

Wairarapa farmer-led catchment groups have secured a $1.1 million funding boost.

The boost is set to help farmer-led Wairarapa catchment community groups to take action for better biodiversity and stream health outcomes, and the resilience of their communities.

Wairarapa Pukaha to Kawakawa Alliance [WaiP2K] said the funding was part of a partnership with the Ministry for Primary Industries [MPI].

The funding will have the development of a region-wide plan to grow and support farmer-led catchment groups over the next two years.

NZ Landcare Trust said catchment groups were groups of people who identify with a geographical area, usually based on a river or lake catchment. The group works to take actions to achieve a long-term vision based on a healthy environment and a thriving community.

The funding agreement includes the establishment of a steering group and regional and local co-ordinator roles.

The steering group will be made up of representatives from iwi, the farming community and agencies, and will be responsible for developing and monitoring the plan’s implementation.

“Local co-ordinators, at a catchment or sub catchment level, will be recruited from within each community and be responsible for the coordination of the catchment group,” Wairarapa Pukaha to Kawakawa Alliance chair Gill Murray said.

Greater Wellington Regional Council farmer reference group chair Barbie Barton said at an environment committee meeting that she was involved with the steering group.

She said she was excited because when farm plans were discussed, catchment groups came back to being the vehicle that would see the farm plan structure working properly across rural communities.

“We have a very interesting mix of people on the steering group, all farming and quite widely represented across the Wairarapa area.”

She said the group was looking at researching the needs of the catchments.

Murray said groups would work with partners to develop and implement a local catchment plan.

“Training will be provided to the local co-ordinators as well as networking opportunities with other catchment co-ordinators.”

Murray said the programme of work would include governance and co-ordination support to groups and development of individual farm plans that will feed into wider catchment plans.

“Workshops on topics such as mapping, stream health monitoring and predator control will also be delivered across the region.”

She said the funding from MPI would enable a more strategic and integrated approach.

“The existing groups have done fantastic work fencing and planting waterways, monitoring stream health, and working together for their catchment. The funding provides an opportunity to build on this work,” Murray said.

The funding will build on existing catchment work the Wairarapa Pukaha to Kawakawa Alliance has been doing with Greater Wellington Regional Council and Beef and Lamb New Zealand.

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