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New Murihiku environmental charity investing in nature

Press Release – Te Tapu o Tane

Large scale land and water restoration projects in Murihiku Southland will soon benefit from a new iwi-led environmental charity, which has been set up to invest in nature, create local jobs and restore the whenua and awa. Minister of Conservation …

Large scale land and water restoration projects in Murihiku Southland will soon benefit from a new iwi-led environmental charity, which has been set up to invest in nature, create local jobs and restore the whenua and awa.

Minister of Conservation Kiri Allan has today announced Te Tapu o Tāne will receive $2.125 million of Jobs for Nature funding over three years to establish three native plant nurseries and undertake restoration projects.

The project is being overseen by Papatipu Rūnanga o Murihiku (representing Hokonui, Waihōpai, Awarua, and Ōraka-Aparima Rūnanga). The name, Te Tapu o Tāne (The sacredness of Tane), relates to the protection of the tamariki of Tāne – the forest.

Te Tapu o Tāne Chief Executive, Jana Davis says the Government’s investment will build on $1.98 million of funding from the One Billion Trees programme and help fast track the launch of a new nursery in the deep south.

“We’re looking forward to creating new pathways for our rakatahi (youth), and enhancing restoration projects, so we can connect mana whenua and the community with our whenua and awa.”

Te Tapu o Tane will commercially provide plant sales, planting, and habitat restoration services alongside Ngāi Tahu, local government, central government, and private partners.

“This project is more than just establishing a native tree nursery; this is full scale catchment rehabilitation from a te ao Māori perspective. We’re removing wilding pines, eco-sourcing, growing, and planting natives, controlling predators like rats, possums, and stoats, and eventually relocating taoka manu back to the restored whenua.

“The four Murihiku Rūnanga are already heavily involved in restoration and manu relocation projects throughout their takiwā. Their guidance, support and passion will help to drive this kaupapa.”

Over the next three years, up to 25 kaimahi will be trained as the project scales up, with several nurseries eventually producing up to 700,000 plants and trees each year.

“This is an ambitious project which will help to restore the mauri of our whenua and awa. We will nurture our people and help them grow with opportunities and training for kaimahi in tree planting, project management, freshwater monitoring and GIS mapping.”

As a charitable organisation, profits will be invested into enhancing the mana of Kā Papatipu Rūnaka o Murihiku in the nature space.

“The long-term vision is for tawhai beech, totara forests and riparian margins to be restored, and for our manu to return the dawn chorus,” says Jana Davis.

Independent Te Tapu o Tane Chair Steve Bramley says the Board is delighted to have Jana as CEO.

“Te Tapu o Tāne is in an exciting development phase which requires someone with courage, innovation, and very good collaborative skills. To be successful, we need to be able to build successful partnerships.

“Jana has all these skills, and what also impressed the Board is his commitment to people first and building effective teams.”

Jana says his mahi will be anchored in the wisdom of his tupuna, the late Jane Davis, who had deep roots in the Murihiku community and contributed to the Ngāi Tahu Claim.

“The values of my tāua will guide my mahi. Nana used to say, ‘if you look after the island, the island will look after you.’ I will put every ounce of energy I have to continue her kaupapa to regenerate and protect the mauri of our whenua and awa,” says Jana Davis.

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