A groundbreaking new partnership between Iwi and the Invercargill City Council is set to support job growth, training and address climate change.
Council and Te Tapu o Tāne, a collective of the four Papatipu Rūnanga o Murihiku, have joined forces to develop a native plant nursery and propagation venture at the Council’s current nursery site and adjacent land at Donovan Park.
Te Tapu o Tāne was formed by Waihōpai, Awarua, Hokonui and Ōraka-Aparima rūnaka when they were awarded $1.98 million funding through the Government’s 1 Billion Trees Fund and $2.125 million from the Department of Convervation’s Jobs for Nature Fund earlier this year.
Council Manager Parks and Recreation Caroline Rain said the partnership was an exciting step in which the two organisations could achieve cultural, social, environmental and employment outcomes to make a difference for the community.
“We are thrilled to be working alongside Te Tapu o Tāne to bring this venture to life and support Iwi across their takiwā in training rangatahi, providing employment opportunities and contributing to climate change solutions through the planting of native forest.
“The opportunity to work closely together to leverage Government funding and support and optimise opportunities that are important to each organisation has been tested and we believe there is a valuable partnership in the making.”
Te Tapu o Tāne Pou Tūraka Chief Executive Jana Davis said the partnership was a shining example of Crown and Iwi putting their best foot forward in the nature space and working towards a climate resilient community.
“I am excited to commence this hikoi (journey) that will reaffirm direct links back to Kā Papatipu Rūnaka o Murihiku and working closely with Invercargill City Council to highlight areas of environmental importance to the community,” he said.
“Our goal is to make meaningful impact to reducing unemployment, creating pathways, and fulfilling our role as mana whenua kaitiaki to increase the wellbeing of our people and all people within our takiwā.”
Davis said Te Tapu o Tāne aimed to train 25 kaimahi over the next three years 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.”
Rain said the venture would be mutually beneficial and would provide the opportunity to develop infrastructure at the nursery and advance seed sowing and planting technology.
“The ability for Council to improve our recruitment and retention of local rangatahi already engaged in the horticultural sector by this partnership is of major benefit to our city and we anticipate training opportunities across the parks and recreation team.”
Work at the site begins Monday and the beginning of the collaboration will be marked with a whakawātea (blessing), a naming ceremony and mihi whakatau led by mana whenua for the new space at the nursery in November.
The Invercargill City Council nursery provides the majority of the plants used in parks and reserves across the city.