Ninety-two jobs will be created in an $8.5 million investment over four years to supercharge the environmental restoration of the Waikanae River.
The funding, from the Department of Conservation's Jobs for Nature scheme, is specifically focused on restoration through riparian fencing and planting, animal and plant pest control, sustainable land management, community engagement, education, and capacity building.
There will also be integrated provision of engagement, involvement, training, and employment.
"This ensures that iwi and other people can enter the programme at different levels, learn and understand what is required and what is possible, see if the mahi suits them, and build their involvement, skills, and employment options over time," Conservation Minister Kiritapu Allan said.
The new funding builds on the Waikanae ki Uta ki Tai (WKUKT) 'mountains to sea' project established in 2019 to restore the river catchment's health.
Both initiatives are a partnership of Waikanae mana whenua Ātiawa ki Whakarongotai (ĀKW), Kāpiti Coast District Council, Greater Wellington Regional Council and the Department of Conservation.
A goal of WKUKT is to create a long-term vehicle and legacy for the restoration of the Waikanae awa over decades.
"I am pleased that Jobs for Nature can support the aspirations of our Treaty partner Ātiawa ki Whakarongotai who are the mana whenua and kaitiaki of the Waikanae area," Allan said.
"This investment supports their aspirations as set out in their Kaitiakitanga Plan, which is designed to express the intergenerational values of their tupuna."
The new funding is to support work and employment in the Waikanae area and includes commitments to support development of ĀKW, including on iwi-owned land.
"Jobs for Nature projects not only provide opportunities for local communities, but benefit the environment and ultimately all of Aotearoa New Zealand," Allan said.
Kāpiti mayor K Gurunathan said the investment came at a crucial time for both ecological and employment benefit.
"We've never seen such a significant central government investment in conservation in Kāpiti so this is huge win for the coast.
"This will supercharge work to restore our native ecosystem and provide an important employment boost.
"Half of the 92 jobs are earmarked for iwi and will provide opportunities at all skill levels.
"The outcomes of this investment will help enhance the mana of our land and people.
"I can't wait to see this work begin."
Council biodiversity programme manager Rob Cross said, "This investment will take the tremendous efforts of volunteers and workers to another level in what is an important natural asset.
"The Waikanae River catchment is a nationally important taonga and the potential for its ongoing improvement is significant.
"We can expect to see improved water quality, a thriving natural landscape and greater biodiversity as a result of this work."