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    Introducing the Kotahitanga mō te Taiao Alliance

    Formed in 2017 by iwi and councils located at the top of the South Island and the Department of Conservation, the Kotahitanga mō te Taiao Alliance collaborates on work to help people and nature thrive.  

    Te Rūnanga o Ngāti Rārua is a member of the Alliance and also has representatives at governance and project team level on Project Mahitahi.

    The Alliance’s vision aims to see our extraordinary natural heritage flourishing, having been restored over large areas, including where people live. It also aspires for people to live, care for, and benefit from the environment in ways that bolster natural ecology and the communities that live within them.

    A governance board and small programme team have been established to develop and oversee a strategic portfolio of projects. The Alliance provides strategy, support, context, and advice to environmental projects within the region and help coordinate or support funding applications. The framework that underpins the Alliance aligns with collaboration with partners and communities across landscape-scale conservation projects across the Buller, Marlborough, Nelson, and Tasman regions to provide a collaborative voice for conservation. Values that guide the Alliance are:

    Values guiding the Alliance include Manaakitanga, Rangatiratanga, Kaitiakitanga, Mauri, Mātauranga Māori, Arohatia and Kotahitanga.

    The early focus of the Alliance was on building the relationships and opportunities for collaboration. Recent large-scale investment from the Government’s Jobs for Nature Programme has required a great deal of effort to ensure the Alliance has the systems to scope projects, secure funding, and deliver and track progress.

    Over time, as the programme scales up, we aim to build the programme team to support a range of important functions. Our dynamic team are now excited to share our many stories of collective action in the environment and local communities. We aspire to be an inspirational and inclusive beacon of ideas and action to bring a wider team to help with this important mahi. Over the coming months we look forward to sharing our stories with you.

    To find out more about Kotahitanga mō te Taiao watch our video below and visit our website.

    Click to learn more about Kotahitanga mō te Taiao.

    The Alliance’s relationship with The Nature Conservancy

    The last light of the day shining above the Pelorus River looking out towards the Marlborough Sounds. (File photo) Credit: Tom Hackett via article

    The scale and ambition of the Kotahitanga mō te Taiao Alliance's work is unprecedented in New Zealand.  To help with this challenge, the Alliance has enlisted the help of The Nature Conservancy, a global conservation organisation formed in 1951 with over 4,000 staff in 79 countries and territories, and a mission to conserve the lands and waters on which all life depends.  The Nature Conservancy has been operating in New Zealand since 2016 and is committed to help Kotahitanga mō te Taiao become an exemplar for landscape-scale conservation work.

    The Nature Conservancy has a strong track record of delivering projects like this, and the partnership will allow the Alliance to draw on this global experience and learn from similar projects overseas.  They will support the Kotahitanga mō te Taiao Alliance to provide funding, science, global expertise, financial tools, and a commitment to engaging diverse stakeholders around common goals. To find out a bit more about them and what they do across planet Earth, visit The Nature Conservancy website.

    Making a difference in the environment of Te Tauihu

    The aim of Kotahitanga mō te Taiao is to help coordinate the achievement of landscape-scale collaborative conservation projects across the Buller, Marlborough, Nelson and Tasman regions. Our approach is to work collaboratively to achieve significant conservation improvements by attracting resources for new work, growing synergies across existing work and developing social, cultural, and economic contributors to future-proof the outcomes.  

    Here is an overview of the first set of projects Kotahitanga mō te Taiao have initially supported. In Alliance ePānui #2, coming out in the next few days, there will be links to the most up to date stories and information shared by the teams leading work on our projects.

    Project Moturoa

    Harakeke/Flax, DOC Blog website

    One of the flagship projects delivered with support from the Kotahitanga mō te Taiao Alliance is Project Moturoa. It was designed specifically with rangatahi in mind – growing capability and capacity in conservation knowledge, to support succession planning for iwi.

    Project Moturoa began in 2019 as a 10-month programme delivered with support from Nelson Marlborough Institute of Technology (NMIT). An innovative conservation course with Te Ao Māori values, tikanga me ngā uara (protocols and principles), and mātauranga Māori woven throughout the learning experience.

    For insights about Project Moturoa watch the video below. Also, enrollments for the 2021 programme close on Friday 30 April. If you'd like to enrol visit the NMIT website.

    Te Hoiere/Pelorus Restoration Project

    Ngāti Kuia whānau at Te Hoiere awa, Melissa Banks Photography courtesy of Ngāti Kuia image library.

    Launched in 2019 at Te Hora Marae at Canvastown, Te Hoiere/Pelorus Restoration Project is a full landscape scaled project. The Project focuses on improving freshwater and land resources in Te Hoiere and Kaituna River Catchments – ki uta ki tai. This location has also been identified as an exemplar catchment as a part of the Ministry for the Environment’s At Risk Catchments programme and by the Department of Conservation as one of its 14 Ngā Awa rivers.

    To follow regular activity taking place go to the Project Facebook page, see updates on the Marlborough District Council website or keep connected through their regular newsletter.

    Mt Richmond Wilding Conifer Project

    Wilding conifer – Mt Richmond Forest Park, Chloe Ranford/LDR via article

    Mt Richmond Forest Park stretches 100km along the Mt Richmond Range from St Arnaud to the coast and contains a rich diversity of ecosystems and history. Some areas of the park are threatened by the spread of wilding conifers and the Mt Richmond Wilding Conifer Project is working hard to manage this issue. It is supported with Jobs for Nature funding, and is one of the flagship projects umbrellaed by Kotahitanga mō te Taiao Alliance.

    To read more about the project, read Samantha Gee’s article.

    Project Mahitahi

    Tamariki swimming at Mahitahi awa, Credit: Luz Zuniga via article

    Project Mahitahi was launched in July 2020 building on work the wider community have been doing for many years to restore the ecosystems of the Maitai/Mahitahi Valley.

    It aims to implement an ecological restoration plan and create jobs through the Government funded initiative, Kaimahi for Nature. Some core aspirations for this Project are to enhance water quality, reduce the spread of weeds, preserve native flora and fauna, create a food corridor for native birds and support the livelihood of taonga species such as kōura and inanga.

    For more information and insights visit the Nelson City Council website and sign up to the Alliance monthly ePānui below.

    Kaimahi for Nature Connection

    Rangatahi participating in Kaimahi for Nature Connections, Whenua Iti Outdoors website

    Under the umbrella support of the Kotahitanga mō te Taiao Alliance, the Kaimahi for Nature Connection project is one of the latest projects to be launched.

    The programme has been developed by Whenua Iti Outdoors in collaboration with iwi and community to provide nature connection experiences to as many tamariki and rangatahi in schools, iwi, and community groups as possible in the Top of the South (Te Tauihu). Funded by Jobs for Nature, the project will run for three years, and is developing and running programmes in 2021.

    For regular updates follow the Whenua Iti Outdoors Facebook page and website.

    Subscribe to Kotahitanga mō te Taiao ePanui

    Tune into our next ePānui to find out the latest about our projects. And, over the next few months further insights, stories, and updates will be shared. Subscribe today

    Michelle Lavender

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    Introducing the Kotahitanga mō te Taiao Alliance