Skip to main content

Westport to host environmental restoration hui

28 Jul 2022

The Buller District Council and Ngāti Waewae are welcoming Kotahitanga mō te Taiao Alliance (the Alliance) members from Te Tauihu / the Top of the South to Westport next week 1 August – 3 August for a strategic environmental restoration planning hui.

The hui will be facilitated by Alliance partner and global conservation organisation The Nature Conservancy, to develop investment-ready environmental proposals across Buller and the top of the South, in line with the Kotahitanga mō te Taiao Strategy.

The Alliance was established in 2017, to support an integrated approach to helping nature and people thrive across Te Tauihu / the Top of the South and northern Buller. Alliance members include eight iwi and five councils across Nelson, Tasman, Marlborough and Buller, and the Department of Conservation (DOC).

Erik van Eyndhoven, The Nature Conservancy Associate Director of Conservation, New Zealand programme, says: “The Nature Conservancy is honoured to support the Alliance to achieve the vision set out in its strategy, released in 2019. The Alliance is in a good position to build on a solid foundation of successful projects and partner relationships.

By exploring synergies between projects and opportunities to scale-up, we hope to identify new areas for investment which have the potential to deliver the greatest impacts for our environment and our communities across whole landscapes and seascapes.”

Martin Rodd, Kotahitanga mō te Taiao Alliance co-chair, says: “We are thrilled to be able to bring together the collective expertise of our iwi, council and DOC members to establish our operational plan to optimise investment into both our natural environment and the communities that live within it.

Collectively we can work at the scale required to hugely improve the future prospects for both the terrestrial and marine environments. It’s how we need to work and it’s exciting to see it coming together.”

Buller District Council and West Coast Regional Council have worked with the Alliance for the past five years – a collaboration which has helped Buller District secure more than $1.4 million of funding towards the creation of jobs (six FTE) and a landscape-scale weed control programme in the district.

Buller District Council’s Mayor Jamie Cleine says: “At the hui we will develop investment ready plans that will turn the Alliance’s strategy into reality – creating jobs and prosperous communities, preparing us for a lower emissions future, and achieving vital outcomes for our natural environment across the Buller district and the top of the South Island.”

Key West Coast stakeholders, including Bathurst Resources, Tai Poutini Polytechnic, MBC Environmental and Development West Coast, are joining the hui. The Nature Conservancy will contribute an international perspective, as well as its expertise in affecting change by bringing together real-world solutions, sustainable financing and collaborative partnerships to realise the restoration goals.

The Buller District Council and Tai Poutini Polytechnic announced a partnership that will work with conservation employers to develop a conservation training learning and employment opportunities hub in March 2022.

In conjunction, a flagship restoration project will be established to engage learners, as well as potential sponsors and funders, and demonstrate conservation and restoration mahi in tangible ways.

Tai Poutini Polytechnic Chief Executive Alex Cabrera says: “It is a great opportunity to meet our partners and key West Coast stakeholders this week. This hui aligns with the hub’s intention to deliver training and education that is designed to meet the needs of the community and its local employers to prepare the Buller District for a future with growing conservation and biodiversity restoration sector activity.

There are a number of other initiatives in the pipeline that will see activities across the West Coast region. The reform of education in New Zealand is creating collaboration opportunities and reducing barriers to accessing training. I am encouraged by the work that has been done to pursue better education opportunities for our akonga.”

During its 2021-2031 Long Term Plan community consultation process Mayor Jamie Cleine says the community confirmed the importance of addressing climate change and sustainability.

Mr Cleine says: “The outcomes of this hui will enable us in partnership with the Alliance and The Nature Conservancy to embed a more prosperous and resilient local future, identifying opportunities within Buller to progress solutions that benefit both people and nature.”


Kotahitanga mō te Taiao Alliance members are Buller, Tasman, Nelson, and Marlborough councils, the West Coast Regional Council, Ngāti Apa ki te Rā Tō Trust, Te Pātaka a Ngāti Kōata Trust, Te Rūnanga o Ngāti Kuia Trust, Te Rūnanga o Ngāti Rārua, Ngāti Tama ki Te Waipounamu Trust, Te Atiawa o Te Waka-a-Māui Trust, Rangitāne o Wairau Settlement Trust, Te Rūnanga o Ngāti Waewae and the Department of Conservation.

The Nature Conservancy, a global conservation organisation operating in over 70 countries worldwide, is partnering with the Kotahitanga mō te Taiao Alliance to deliver on the strategy.

The Nature Conservancy manages the $6 million Restoring and Protecting Flora Project – a weed management project across the Kotahitanga mō te Taiao Alliance region funded by the Jobs for Nature Programme. $1.4 million of this funding is allocated to the Buller region. The three-year project involves wide-scale strategic weed management across thousands of hectares of the northern South Island and will employ 29 people across four districts. This includes mobile teams working across different locations providing support to public and private landowners to leave an environmental legacy.

Jobs for Nature is a $1.219 billion central government programme that manages funding across multiple government agencies to benefit the environment, people, and the regions, and is part of the COVID-19 recovery package.


For more information contact:
Buller District Mayor
Jamie Cleine

The Nature Conservancy Associate Director of Conservation NZ programme
Erik van Eyndhoven