Pest Control and plants make rewarding work for Jobs For Nature kaimahi

Department of Conservation —  04/08/2022

Ōnuku Maori Lands Trust, located at the base of Mount Tarawera, has been involved in conservation since the 1980s and had the foresight to retire large areas of their whenua and plant and retire the riparian of Lake Rotomahana.

Over 40 years on, the maintenance of these large areas as well as extension of the reserves has seen the trustees look at focusing resource towards environmental work and with the benefit of Jobs for Nature funding of a three year project, the trust is excited to see more planting and restoration of 742 hectares of reserve areas.

The trust currently has three kaimahi who all connect to the whenua through their whakapapa. Nathan Stowell and Stevie Simeon have been involved over the summer in the restoration of the wetland which has seen extensive willow drilling and now their attention has been turned to reducing pest control numbers around areas which are being prepared for planting. This has seen the reduction of possum and deer.

Both Nathan and Stevie have found the project very rewarding as they can see that their work will have huge benefits for their mokopuna in years to come. This has given them a great sense of personal satisfaction in their work.

Johnson Davis has been carrying out repairs to the existing fencing – which is now 40 years old, and requires some much-needed maintenance.

The trust has collaborated with other Māori entities in the project and were fortunate to have the assistance of the Te Arawa Lakes Trust wetland crew over the summer months. Their training programme helped to prepare our Ōnuku kaimahi and their assistance with the willow poisoning gave more muscle to the initial work.

Kaumatua Ken Raureti and Barnett Vercoe with DOC staff, Wenarata Kingi and Kris Theiss, At the commencement karakia for the project.

The trust is very appreciative of the support given by us through our local office representative Kristine Theiss, who provides guidance and contacts of others who are working in the area.

Our upcoming planting will see at least 30,000 plants in the ground and this summer will see more wetland work underway as well as further areas prepared for autumn planting.

Find out more about the Jobs for Nature – Mahi mō te Taiao, which helps revitalise communities through nature-based employment and stimulate the economy post COVID-19.