A major step has been made towards managing Hawke's Bay's soil erosion problems.

Ngāti Kahungunu and Hawke's Bay Regional Council signed the Kahutia Accord Memorandum of Understanding, which aims to plant millions of trees on the region's 250,000ha of erosion prone soil.

Kahutia translates to re-cloaking.

The plan, which was signed on Friday, is a formal partnership to assist the region to become New Zealand's first carbon neutral province by 2040, a target highlighted in the Council's Strategic Plan.


Ngahiwi Tomoana from Ngāti Kahungunu Iwi Incorporated says the project will bring increased employment opportunities, as well as environmental benefits.

"We're setting the scene for the next 100 years," Tomoana said.

"Not only will we be healing the people but we'll be healing the land. That's significant in terms of our sustainability and prosperity.

"There's Treaty post settlement groups and whānau opportunities to grow small to large business ventures in products such as honey, rongoa (traditional healing medicines), pest control and tourism."

HBRC chairman Rex Graham said signing the memorandum of understanding meant reforestation of Hawke's Bay could begin.

"The real work behind a reforestation programme can start now, to plant more trees to protect erosion prone land and enhance our environment.

"This will also establish an investment that benefit our ratepayers, the region and Ngāti Kahungunu over the long term."

Hawke's Bay is aiming to be New Zealand's first carbon neutral province, with partnership between HBRC and Ngati Kahungunu hoping to assist in this goal.


Both Ngāti Kahungunu and HBRC has put in funding for the project, and Ngāti Kahungunu has also applied for money from the provincial growth fund.