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Catchment collective collars $1m

A Wairarapa catchment group has received close to $1m of government funding.

The Wairarapa Catchment Collective will receive a total of $981,880 from the Ministry of Primary Industries [MPI] over four years to continue its work supporting farmers’ efforts to enhance their land management practices.

Wairarapa Catchment Collective chair Richard Johns said the recently formed group – which is led by catchment groups within Wairarapa rural communities and districts – is “very happy” to receive the funds.

The catchment groups that make up the collective, Johns said, have continued “the good work” of the Wairarapa Pūkaha to Kawakawa Alliance Trust [Waip2k].

“Rural communities can band together instead of one landowner having an issue,” he said.

“If several landowners in the same catchment share the same problems or want the same solutions, jointly, they have a stronger voice, and we are the conduit for that voice.”

The grant will be used to support the recruitment of two part-time roles – a catchment coordinator and a project manager – who will work with existing and future partners, including Greater Wellington District Council and Mountains to Sea Wellington. Johns said that, since 2017, the community Wainuioru Catchment Group that he also chairs has successfully obtained $2.3m in funding from MPI and the Department of Conservation for its work.

“There is proof in the pudding there of a collective voice being heard,” he said.

Todd Jenkinson, chair of Waip2k, which has previously received MPI funding, said successfully applying for $1 million is an amazing achievement for the collective.

“We’re super chuffed and really pleased the fundings come through so they can carry on the work”, he said, adding that Waip2k will offer support where it can.

With its past MPI funding, Waip2k helped to grow five community catchment groups in Wairarapa to 17 over two years.

“That funding went a long way,” he said.

Agriculture Minister Todd McClay announced last week that $3.3 million in total will be invested in seven locally led catchment groups, with Wairarapa Catchment Collective receiving the single biggest amount.

McClay said the grant will provide farmers and growers with the necessary “on-the-ground” resources and support.

“Farmers and growers deliver significant prosperity for New Zealand and it’s vital their ongoing efforts to improve land management practices and water quality are supported,” he said.

“Catchment groups led by farmers and other members of rural communities are doing significant work across the country to sustainably achieve common goals, improve practices, and share information.

“It is important we support those who know, and work, the land in their efforts to care for and enhance it.”

“Greater Wellington welcomes the government’s investment into locally led catchment groups, including for the Wairarapa Catchment Collective, who bring together a wealth of expertise and insight to support our region’s farmers and economy,” Greater Wellington Wairarapa Coast catchment manager Tash Styles said yesterday.

“The council looks forward to continuing its work with farmers in Wairarapa to offer advice on supporting farm environment plans and on-farm actions to improve freshwater and biodiversity.”

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