Community efforts to create a Predator Free Whangārei will receive a $6 million boost, Regional Economic Development Minister Shane Jones and Conservation Minister Eugenie Sage announced today.
The new funding, through Government company Predator Free 2050 Ltd, will create around 12 jobs while enabling the complete removal of possums over the next five years from a nearly 10,000 ha area around Whangārei Heads.
Possums, mustelids and rats will also be targeted across 60,000ha from urban Whangārei to the Whangārei Heads.
Shane Jones said the project would build capacity for biosecurity work in the region and help boost economic activity in the area.
“This is a bold project backing iwi and hapū, landowners and community groups to act as kaitiaki and achieve their vision of a Predator Free Whangarei.
“I acknowledge the leadership of the Northland Regional Council in bringing these groups together in efforts to protect and restore our taiao.”
The project’s funding comes from a $19.5m Provincial Growth Fund investment in Predator Free 2050 Ltd.
In addition to that funding, the project will receive significant in-kind contributions from community conservation groups, Northland Regional Council, Whangārei District Council, Kiwi Coast and the Department of Conservation. The five-year project has a total budget of just over $27m.
Eugenie Sage said the project would create a safe habitat for kiwi and other native plants and wildlife to thrive.
“This Predator Free project builds on over 20 years of dedicated and successful community effort in predator control in the Whangārei area. The kiwi population on the Whangārei Peninsula has increased ten-fold to almost 1000 birds over the last 20 years through this community commitment. The extra funding will enable community organisations to ramp up their efforts and will energise the national Predator Free 2050 programme.
“In addition to kiwi, the area is home to native birds like kūkupa (wood pigeon/kereru), toutouwai/ North Island robin, popokatea/whitehead, kāhu/harrier hawk along with rare lizards like the Whirinaki skink. It is found at the very top of Te Whara, occupying an area less than 1ha and found nowhere else in the world.
“More recently Budget 2020 has provided significant funding to supercharge Predator Free 2050 projects across Aotearoa as part of the $1.3 billion Jobs for Nature package,” Eugenie Sage said.
Predator Free Whangarei is the ninth large landscape project to be co-funded by the government through Predator Free 2050 Limited.
For more information about Predator Free 2050, and currently funded projects see www.pf2050.co.nz.