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Three Wairoa groups awarded $5000 each for river projects

Eastland Group Wairoa Contestable Grant Winners 1

THE crusade to continue uplifting the mana and mauri of the Wairoa River was the focus of the three successful applications of this year’s Eastland Group Wairoa Contestable Community Grant.

The winning applicants this year were Wairoa Community Ngahere Nursery, the Wairoa Awa Restoration Project and Hinemihi Marae Nursery.

Now in its fourth year, the scheme supports Wairoa-based community-led projects. A total of $15,000 was donated to the three local groups in recognition of their Wairoa River-focused projects. Each organisation receives $5000.

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 was 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.”

Mr Little also acknowledged Eastland Group for its support of the Contestable Community Grants Scheme and for its commitment to Wairoa.

Leeann Whatuira from the Wairoa Community Ngahere Nursery said she was thrilled with the decision.

Mrs Whatuira said the grant would contribute towards the cost of building wicking beds that can hold more than 18,000 plants, which can then be replanted along the Wairoa River bank.

Hinemihi Marae Nursery representative Michelle McIlroy said she was also excited with the decision.

“On behalf of our Marae we wish thank Eastland Group and WDC for their continued support,” Mrs McIlroy said.

“The grant will allow us to continue our kaupapa to help restore the mauri of our awa and wananga around possible solutions.”

Wairoa Awa Restoration Project representative Katarina Kawana said the grant would enable the organisation to capture data relating to the Wairoa River and conduct further testing of species that live in the river.

The grant will also support the group’s plan to conduct a weekend wananga that looks at Matauranga Māori views against Western views around water enhancement.

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 all these groups for their vision and commitment, and to all the volunteers and other members of the community who are involved in these meaningful projects.”

21 August 2020

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