For the next two years, improving the water quality of Lake Tutira will be the focus of the Maungaharuru-Tangitu Trust.

Yesterday, the trust announced they had secured $644,000 funding for a two-year project to help improve the mauri (life force) and water quality of Lake Tutira, its wider catchment of lakes and waterways.

Earlier this year, conditions of the lake were the worst they had been since 2008. A monitoring buoy recorded surface water temperatures approaching 33C - the warmest ever recorded. Phycocyanin levels, which indicate the presence of cyanobacteria - the lethal toxin that can cause harm and death to animals, also peaked at around the same time.

The project called 'Tutira mai nga iwi', will use different knowledge systems including Matauranga Maori (Maori knowledge) local environmental knowledge, science, policy and planning to undertake short-term actions and long-term planning.

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The actions will include wananga (forums), pest plant removal, planting, fencing, science reporting, landowner and community engagement. The Trust said fixing the water quality issues would take time, but this project would help in planning and progress.

Maungaharuru-Tangitu Trust will lead the project and work with partners such as Hawke's Bay Regional Council, (HBRC), the Department of Conservation, Hastings District Council, the Guthrie-Smith Trust, the Environmental, Conservation and Outdoor Education Trust, Hawke's Bay Fish and Game, landowners and the community.

It received the funding from the Ministry for the Environment's Te Mana o Te Wai Fund and the Tangoio Soil Conservation Fund, administered by HBRC under the Maungaharuru-Tangitu Hapu Claims Settlement Act 2014.

- The trust is advertising for a Project Manager position at seek.co.nz/job/31238121. Applications close on Sunday, July 3.