The Government has given an iwi $271,824 to help restore native vegetation along the Rangitāiki River.
Associate Environment Minister Eugenie Sage announced the funding from the Community Environment Funding in Murupara this morning.
It will go to Te Rūnanga o Ngāti Manawa for its He Korowai o Papatūānuku (Re-connecting to our environment) Project.
"I am always excited to help local communities improve their environment, and I am confident that this grant will help restore the mauri of the water, bring the community closer together and increase biodiversity," Sage said.
"Community-led projects like the He Korowai o Papatūānuku Project are fundamental in restoring indigenous vegetation and establishing a sanctuary for native species."
The project aims to link, expand and enhance existing, and establish new areas of indigenous vegetation along the Rangitāiki River for recreational use.
The Community Environment Fund, for Kiwis making a positive difference to the environment, will make up 45 per cent of the project's total funding.
"We are glad to help Te Rūnanga o Ngāti Manawa and are proud to fund projects that strengthen environmental partnerships, raise environmental awareness, and encourage community participation in environmental initiatives," Sage said.
The three years of funding will allow Te Rūnanga o Ngāti Manawa to employ a community river care co-ordinator who will map vegetation along the Rangitāiki River, engage with the local community and school groups; and develop and implement an environment plan.
The minister also revealed the Pekepeke Project Pou Whenua and planted native ponga and ferns.
Te Rūnanga o Ngāti Manawa chairman Kani Edwards said the project was important.
"The He Korowai o Papatuanuku is a project where reconnecting occurs across all age groups within the three dimensions of time, the past, the present, the future," he said.
"Today we are honoured to have the minister unveil the Pekepeke Pou and just behind this pou you can see where the Pekepeke stream flows into the Rangitāiki River.
"This Pekepeke restoration site is a culturally significant trading site for Ngāti Manawa where iwi would gather to trade mahinga kai."
Rangipo, on the Rangitāiki River, is a highly significant place to Ngāti Manawa as it's where they farewell eels making their way to the sea to spawn.
According to a 2017 Stats NZ and Ministry for the Environment report, 72 per cent of known, native freshwater fish and 31 per cent of known, native freshwater-dependent plants are threatened with, or at risk of, extinction.