The restoration of Lake Omapere, outside Kaikohe, has been boosted with a $250,000 grant from the Ministry for the Environment's Te Mana o te Wai Fund, which is used to support the aspirations of tangata whenua.
Environment Minister David Parker announced three equal grants, the others going to Whanganui and Gisborne, on the United Nations' World Environment Day, saying the fund was designed to support projects that would halt degradation and begin making improvements to fresh water.
Te Mana o Roto Omapere Me Ona Awa will use the grant in the development of a strategy to restore Lake Omapere, including engagement with those who have an interest in the lake, and the development of a monitoring programme to measure its state of health.
The Whanganui-based Te kinakitanga o Ngati Tuera rāua ko Ngati Hinero will use its grant to improve water quality in its catchment, protecting and restoring habitat and ensuring sustainable biodiversity and ecosystems.
In Gisborne, Te Runanganui o Ngāti Porou Trust will work with the local council to develop a joint management agreement to establish decision-making and planning processes to recognise Ngāti Porou hapū rights and interests in fresh water management.
Mr Parker said the Government planned to release a new freshwater National Policy Statement and new National Environmental Standards for consultation in August, giving everyone a chance to have their say on tough new rules designed to improve fresh water.
"At the heart of our work on fresh water sits Te Mana o te Wai — the mana of the water — which is a concept that encompasses the integrated and holistic health and wellbeing of a water body that can sustain the full range of environmental, social, cultural and economic values held by iwi/hapū and the community," he said.
"Te Mana o te Wai provides the values, principles and practices required to maintain healthy fresh water, while the ministry's Te Mana o te Wai fund helps local iwi realise their aspirations for fresh water."