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Source: Ministry for the Environment

Ministry for the Environment

Bay Conservation Alliance

Bay Conservation Cadets – Tauira Mahi programme video

“Now I’m excited to go to work, and I feel like I’m actually making a difference in the world,” Bay Conservation Cadet, Nathan Wakely

A $3.5 million grant from the Jobs for Nature programme is training a new group of environmental guardians in the Bay of Plenty, says Secretary for the Environment Vicky Robertson. 

The Bay Conservation Cadets – Tauira Mahi is an employment, training and development programme which upskills people who are unemployed, under-employed or those changing career pathways, in environmental management and restoration. 

Bay Conservation Alliance received $3.5 million through Ministry for the Environment’s Jobs for Nature funding, to deliver the Bay Conservation Cadets programme.

“We want New Zealanders to learn environmental management skills that they can carry with them for the rest of their lives. It is through this long-term learning approach that we ensure that both Te Taiao (the environment), and those employed through projects funded by Jobs for Nature will thrive well beyond the life of the programme,” said Vicky Robertson.

Over the next five years, the programme will employ 150 people, through three intakes of 10 cadets each year, for a 12-week training and work experience period.

Cadets are working with 29 environmental experts to learn skills in areas such as pest control, predator control, weeds, planting plans, outcomes monitoring and conservation dogs, to enable a career path into the environmental sector. 

The hope is that the hands-on learning, the environmental certifications and the career coaching provided by the programme will help the cadets to find longer term employment.

“This is a big social investment in people – creating confidence, self-esteem and awareness of what’s possible,” said Bay Conservation Alliance’s Education and Training Manager Brian Ireland.

Bay Conservation Cadet, Misty Peni said while she was from Pirirākau, Tauranga Moana, she knew little about her whakapapa, but her time on the programme was changing that. 

“I’ve slowly been learning about who I am and where I’ve come from. So, this [programme] is going to really help me to understand a lot.

“I definitely feel like I’m heading in the right direction now,” said Misty.

The Jobs for Nature programme was created to support a greener recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic. It provides $1.245 billion over a four-year programme to create nature-based jobs to protect and restore our natural environment.

Second intake open for applications now

If you are passionate about the environment and think the Bay Conservation Cadets programme could benefit your career path, apply now. 

Applications are open until 2 April 2021, for intake two starting on 17 May 2021. For more information on the programme, eligibility and the online application form visit Bay Conservation Cadets – Tauira Mahi | Bay Conservation Alliance


Download the video footage 


  • Cadets at river undertaking water monitoring
  • Misty Peni – Bay Conservation Cadet and Emma Richardson – and Science Educator
  • Cadets at river undertaking water monitoring

Media contacts

Ministry for the Environment
Mobile 027 231 6930

Bay Conservation Alliance
Michelle Elborn
Chief Executive
022 452 5811