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Source: New Zealand Government

Northland’s indigenous tree canopy is set to grow for the benefit of mana whenua and the wider community thanks to nearly $2 million in One Billion Trees funding, Forestry Minister Shane Jones announced today.

Te Komanga Marae Trust has received more than $1.54 million to restore and enhance the native flora on the Kōwhairoa Peninsula Historic Reserve at the entrance of Whangaroa Harbour.

“Kōwhairoa Peninsula is a culturally significant site, of huge importance to Ngāti Kahu ki Whangaroa and Ngāti Kaitangata haupū,” Shane Jones said.

“It is also significant for its diverse flora and fauna. Sadly, much of the old-growth forests were cleared prior to 1948. But with the support of Te Uru Rakau, Northland Regional Council, Department of Conservation, the Kiwis for Kiwi Trust, Forest and Bird and Taipa Area School, Te Komanga Marae Trust will restore this forest to its former glory.”

The Trust will also work with the Northland Region Corrections Facility and its horticulture programme for propagation of seedlings for the project.

The One Billion Trees-funded Restoration Ambassador, ecologist Dr Adam Forbes, has recommended planting up to 132,000 long-lived native old growth plant species across 110ha on the peninsula.

“The key focus of this biodiversity project is to restore the old growth forest species that would have once dominated the peninsula. Along with continued pest control, this forest restoration will create long-term biodiversity benefits for the peninsula and harbour,” Shane Jones said.

As well as providing an economic boost for the area through the funding, the project will also create 10-14 jobs across its duration.

In a separate funding, a grant of $286,000 has gone to Te Roroa Development Charitable Trust for its Te Toa Whenua restoration project.

Te Roroa are the kaitiaki of Tane Mahuta and other significant kauri on the west coast of the Far North.

“Te Roroa is transitioning around 200ha of a 900ha block of land from exotic forest to native through the planting of seedlings from its own nursery,” Shane Jones said.

They will employ a nursery manager and nursery kaimahi for three years to work in the plant nursery and contribute to the project. The goal is to produce 100,000 native seedlings each year.

“I am delighted that Northland iwi are able to utilise funds available through Te Uru Rakau and the One Billion Trees programme to return the whenua to its former state. New Zealand owes them a debt of gratitude for this work and their continued guardianship of our biodiversity taonga.”