Wetland in Pekapeka Regional Park

It’s not just the thirteen recipients of  Biodiversity Hawke’s Bay’s Environmental Enhancement Contestable Fund that Debbie Monahan wants to celebrate.

Groups from Wairoa to Central Hawke’s Bay were all awarded varying degrees of funding, to start or continue work to maintain or enhance the region’s natural environment. But, as Monahan’s quick to add, they’re not the only folk making Hawke’s Bay better “for future generations.’’

Monahan, the general manager of Biodiversity Hawke’s Bay, believes more and more people appreciate how precious our native species, landscape and waterways are. “We’ve got so many passionate landowners out there who are proactively trying to sort out how they can best enhance their land and support biodiversity and we need to recognise the fact that’s actually happening, as well as the others protecting their land through QE II National Trust covenants,’’ Monahan said.

The Hawke’s Bay Regional Council is the primary funder of the grants that went to the thirteen applicants, with support from the Department of Conservation. The total amount allocated to the applicants was $50,000.

Monahan says she’s “not really’’ at liberty to comment on who got what, but was able to talk about it in general terms.

“What we’ve actually got in this fund, which is really good, is we’ve got one fund that is up to $3,000, so people can apply for up to $3,000 and that’s for your small, little projects that are just starting,’’ said Monahan.

Then there are those who can access up to $15,000. “You’ve got groups for example, like the Maraetotara Tree Trust and the Haumoana Tree Trust, who’ve got multi-year projects. So those two groups got funding last year and it’s been great to continue their projects this year,’’ Monahan said.

There might be those who aren’t bothered about or don’t value biodiversity and fail to see the need to fund its protection.

Suffice to say that’s not a view shared by Monahan. “When we take one thing out of nature it can affect 10, 15, 20 or even thousands of bits of nature and Hawke’s Bay is a very modified landscape,’’ she said. “A lot of the native bush is gone, the wetlands have been removed so our district’s biodiversity is nowhere as good as it could be and that has effects on all of us.

“Hawke’s Bay is a region that relies on the environment. If you look at our tourism, it’s a beautiful place and people come here for our scenery and nature. 

“We’ve also got horticulture and agriculture and that all relies on healthy nature and we haven’t done a great job on how we treat it at times and there’s species that have been lost and that future generations just won’t see.

“In Hawke’s Bay we’ve lost species that are still present in other parts of New Zealand so we’ve got a responsibility to make sure we protect what we have and that we restore and enhance it so that future generations have got the benefit of what we’re doing now.’’

That’s said against a backdrop where we have a government minister – Shane Jones – announcing an intent to fast track mining projects across the country. Jones has even gone as far to say environmentalists have had their day and that the pursuit of wealth from projects, such as mining, trumps any environmental concerns.

Monahan has a nuanced view of that sort of rhetoric. “It’s not a case of you’ve got to have one and not the other,’’ said Monahan. “What isn’t helpful is a lot of people will turn around and will blame one group over another group. We’re all in this together.

“We don’t want to lose precious wetlands just to build a mine, but a lot of the areas that have already been modified or don’t have value, put money in those or use that if you like. But don’t go into a pristine, perfect environment where a severe biodiversity loss is going to happen.

“People are aware of the areas that are really vulnerable and we should be protecting those.

“You look at something like the Ahuriri Estuary; can you imagine turning round and finding a great mineral or something there and saying you’re going to mine there?

“No-one would put up with that, they would not accept that.”

Biodiversity Hawke’s Bay’s Environmental Enhancement Contestable Fund 2024 recipients:

  • Haumoana Tree Trust – Haumoana Tree Trust Planting Phase 2 (replacements) and Phase 3-new plantings 2024
  • Michael & Roslyn Thomas– Bush & Wetland Restoration on Mangatawhiti Station
  • Save the Dotterels, Hawke’s Bay – Bayview/Westshore/Awatoto
  • Moo Scotting – Calling All Kiwi
  • Central Hawke’s Bay Forest and Bird – Ōtaia Bush Restoration*
  • Wynne-Lewis Farming Limited – Wetland restoration
  • Environment Conservation & Outdoor education Trust (ECOED) – Save Our Kaweka Kiwi
  • Jervoistown Forest Project – Jervoistown Berm Afforestation Planting
  • Te Ngahere – Puketitiri Pekapeka
  • Maraetotara Tree Trust – Maraetotara River Riparian Planting Programme
  • Watch Our Water Maharakeke and Porangahau (WOW MAP) Streams Catchment Group – Native Riparian Planting Trial and Community Planting Day
  • Ryan Bauckham & Dr Amelia McQueen (EIT) – Hawkes Bay Lepidoptera Monitoring – Baseline Project
  • West Quay Body corporate Committee – West Quay Planting for Urban Biodiversity

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