A pilot training programme aims to educate and upskill participants to meet growing workforce demands in the environment sector.
Te Arawa Lakes Trust facilitates the programme hoping, ultimately, to create more kaitiaki for the rohe.
Nine recruits will enter the intensive 10-week programme, which is funded through the Department of Conservation Jobs for Nature programme and the Ministry of Social Development.
Through the Taiao Pilot Training Programme, participants achieve unit standards, certificates and gain practical skills for employment in the environmental sector.
It covers Growsafe training, plant identification, machinery, 4WD training and wader training, health and safety, first aid, fieldwork and pest control, and mixes theory and in-the-field experience through various specialist providers.
Te Arawa Lakes Trust Environment manager Mariana Te Rangi said although the programme was a pilot, there were high hopes it would become permanent.
"Te Arawa hapū and iwi are tangata whenua, hunga tiaki and significant landowners – we have and will continue to be the guardians of our whenua for generations to come and this programme enables more kaitiaki to help look after our taonga," she said.
"A programme like this is the beginning of an environmental pathway for Te Arawa and ultimately for the rest of Aotearoa.
"Not only will it benefit the whenua, it also aims to empower participants with matauranga Māori and matauranga pakeha, the knowledge and skills needed to protect and enhance biosecurity efforts already underway within the rohe, creating opportunities and giving back to the land."
Department of Conservation partnerships manager Anna-Lee Annett said the Taiao Pilot Training Programme was "the perfect initiative" stemming from the Jobs for Nature programme.
She said the partnership with MSD showcased how these programmes could work across government agencies.
"The Jobs for Nature programme was established in 2020 and allocates just over $500 million to help revitalise communities through nature-based employment while also stimulating the economy post-Covid-19.
"Iwi, hapū and whānau are at the heart of our Jobs for Nature partnership approach and working alongside project partners, we aim to create nature-based job opportunities for about 6000 people over a four-year period."
The jobs created through the programme will be carried out on private and public conservation land and include predator control, restoring wetlands, regenerative planting and work to improve tracks, huts and other recreational assets.
Te Arawa Lakes Trust secured $2.5 million in funding to create an estimated 30 full-time jobs over a two-year project through its Mauri Tu Mauri Ora project.
The kaupapa consists of six iwi-led landscape restoration projects, involving wetlands, pest eradication, beehive placement, community initiatives and water monitoring in the Bay of Plenty region.