A $4 million injection of Government cash via the Jobs for Nature scheme will help restore native biodiversity in the Bay of Islands and create long-term employment.
Predator Free Bay of Islands aims to eradicate predators from three crucial peninsulas and significantly reduce their impact in the Bay's wider 80,000ha area.
Northland Regional Council is leading the project, building on existing pest control programmes on Purerua Peninsula (7600ha), Russell Peninsula (3000ha) and Cape Brett/Rākaumangamanga (3000ha).
Conservation Minister Kiri Allan — recently returned to the role after a battle with cancer — said the Government was throwing its support behind the project with a $4m investment through Jobs for Nature (Mahi mō te Taiao).
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The funding would allow Predator Free 2050 to help iwi, hapū, landowners and community groups advance their vision of a predator-free Tai Tokerau, Allan said.
The rest of the $11m project budget was covered by contributions from community conservation groups, iwi/hapū, Northland Regional Council, Kiwis for Kiwi, and Kiwi Coast Trust.
About 15 jobs would be created when the five-year project was fully operational.
Allan said work would start soon on community engagement, feasibility studies and operational planning.
The Bay of Islands project was one of 16 supported by Predator Free 2050 Limited, a Crown-owned company set up to invest in landscape-scale projects and breakthrough-focussed research.
"Each involves a unique combination of landscape, cultural, community and ecological factors, creating tangible and long term social and economic benefits for all New Zealanders," Allan said.
Northland MP Willow-Jean Prime said the extra funding built on ''fantastic work'' already being done by conservation groups to eradicate pests and protect biodiversity in the Bay of Islands.