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Wairoa groups focusing on river restoration receive grants

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THREE Rs – re-education, regeneration and restoration - were among the common themes for the successful applicants of this year’s Eastland Group Wairoa Community Contestable Grants Scheme.

The Wairoa River was again the focus of this year’s grant scheme, which attracted two applications from local organisations.

The winning projects were Wairoa Community Ngahere Nursery and Sport Hawke’s Bay Wairoa.

Now in its third year, the scheme supports Wairoa-based community-led projects. A total of $15,000 was donated to two local groups in recognition of their Wairoa River-focused projects. Each organisation received $7500.

The projects support education and community outreach initiatives as well as encouraging young people to engage in activities that promote healthy relationships with the Wairoa River.

Promoting the relevance and importance of the river in the lives of the Wairoa community is another focus of the projects.

Wairoa Mayor Craig Little said this year’s recipients were all playing an amazing part in protecting and restoring the river.

“I am thrilled to see the community on board protecting our awa for the whole of our district,” Mr Little said.

“Seeing people who care for our environment step up in a voluntary capacity is just fantastic.”

Esta Wainohu of Sport Hawke’s Bay Wairoa said the generous financial support enabled them to complete their Wairoa River projects, which included riparian planting near the Destination Wairoa playground.

Their application focused on purchasing native plants that were eco-sourced from the Wairoa District for riparian/riverside restoration.

Their itinerary included a Matariki planting day that involved mokopuna from kohanga reo and early childhood centres from throughout the district. This took place on Monday last week.

The trees planted to celebrate this event were sourced from the Wairoa Community Ngahere Nursery.

“Our Matariki project ties in with four of the nine stars in Matariki cluster – Tupuānuku, Tupuārangi, Waitī and Waitā,” Ms Wainohu says.

“These stars embody planting, food from the sky, food from the land, freshwater and sea water.

“Part of our kaupapa was to raise awareness of the true essence of Matariki and how the stars synchronise with our environment and every day living.”

Wairoa Community Ngahere Nursery’s Leanne Whatuira was thrilled to have received a grant which will go towards growing and propagating 10,000 to 20,000 native plants a year.

This required seed-raising mix, potting mix, plastic potting bags, plant-holding trays, fertilisers, pest control and the relevant tools needed for propagating.

From there the trees and plants will be planted where the waterways and the land need healing.

“This grant has enabled us to start our project which is driven by voluntary labour. The group recently became registered as an Incorporated society and is now within sight of the required budget to commence building,” said Ms Whatuira.

“Now that we’ve been established for some time, we’ve had approaches from various marae, farmers, individuals, local council and Hawke’s Bay Regional Council for the supply of appropriate plants for riverside restoration.

“It was really beautiful and emotional to see our tamariki involved in the Matariki planting event… I’m very proud that our first lot of trees have now been utilised for river restoration planting.”

Eastland Group Chief Executive Matt Todd says, “we are delighted to continue working with the Mayor and the council to ensure this annual grant has a wide-reaching and positive impact.

“Congratulations to Wairoa Community Ngahere Nursery and Sport Hawke’s Bay Wairoa for their vision and commitment, and to all the volunteers and other members of the community who are involved in these meaningful projects.”

1 July 2019

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