A partnership between local and national agencies has pledged more than $6 million for conservation in Hawke's Bay over the next five years.

The Te Matau a Maui project will aim to co-ordinate pest control and conservation across 26,000 hectares of land - consisting of conservation areas and farmland - between Waimarama and Havelock North.

It will kick off early next year, jointly funded by the Aotearoa Foundation, the Department of Conservation (DoC), Hawke's Bay Regional Council (HBRC), Landcare Research and Cape Sanctuary.

The council has agreed to commit $1.5 million to the project, including $300,000 worth of staff time over the next five years. DoC, meanwhile, has committed $1.6 million and Landcare Research $700,000.


Cape Sanctuary was already investing about $600,000 annually.

Council chairman Fenton Wilson said for the effort to succeed it must be a "win-win" for the region's farming community.

"Success long term for New Zealand's unique biodiversity substantially rests on our ability to integrate public and private biodiversity efforts across New Zealand.

"We've recorded declining possum numbers on farmed land and urban areas thanks to supportive landowners and residents.

"That provides the opportunity to target other predator pests in our farmland as a pathway to large scale predator control similar to the success of councils' Possum Control Area programme."

DoC director-general Lou Sanson said the project would be "at the cutting edge" of New Zealand conservation efforts.

"The chance to have Government, local Government, Landcare Research and Hawke's Bay landowners come together with the help of Julian Robertson, Andy Lowe and others to bring back our birds is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity."