A landmark partnership that will double the agency funded animal pest control work in the Kaimai Mamaku Ranges forests over the next five years has been announced.
The joint-agency partnership between Bay of Plenty Regional Council, Waikato Regional Council and the Department of Conservation is part of an ambitious landscape-scale restoration envisioned by the Manaaki Kaimai Mamaku Forum.
Manaaki Kaimai Mamaku Trust Iwi representative Mawera Karetai said the $1.5 million funding allocated by Bay of Plenty Regional Council over the next five years, supported by the agency partners to deliver 'flax roots' community engagement, was a significant step towards achieving the forum's kaupapa for the future of the forests.
"The Kaimai Mamaku are a taonga, a treasured and iconic part of the region's landscape. Sadly, the introduction of pest plants and animals has meant we have lost many native species, and the forest's ability to regenerate has been declining for decades," Karetai said.
"Thanks to the sustained pest management programme made possible by this partnership we are one step closer towards improving the health of the forests and bringing back the birds."
Bay of Plenty Regional Councillor and Manaaki Kaimai Mamaku Trust chairman Norm Bruning said as part of the joint agency partnership, the council had taken the unusual step of allocating funds to support pest control on Public Conservation Land.
"Through the Long Term Plan 2018-28, Bay of Plenty Regional Council has allocated $1.5m of funds over five years, to further enhance the valuable pest control work already being undertaken by many people across the region."
"It is estimated more than 11,300 hours annually of voluntary work goes towards protecting and restoring the health of the Kaimai Mamaku.
"Volunteer groups work tirelessly to maintain the habitats of the small remaining pockets of kiwi, kōkako, kākā, titipounamu, and native frogs while pest control groups are vigilant in limiting populations of rats, possums and stoats. Our recreational hunting community also provide a valuable service in keeping deer and pig numbers below where they would otherwise be," Bruning said.
Stage one of the increased pest control programme will begin this winter.