$30m Te Mana o Te Wai Fund now open

By Te Ao - Māori News

The Te Mana o Te Wai fund is dedicated to supporting Māori to restore freshwater systems, while also creating employment opportunities in the provinces.

The fund is worth $30 million and is a part of the Government’s $1.245 billion 'Jobs for Nature' package which was set up in 2020 and aims to create 11,000 jobs over four years.

Secretary for the Environment Vicky Robertson says the fund has a focus on local communities, including hapū, marae and whānau groups.

She says, "It is aimed at supporting communities to improve freshwater health, create nature based-employment opportunities and participate in freshwater management.

“The concept of Te Mana o Te Wai is about putting the health of freshwater first by restoring and protecting its life support capacity. It is also the guiding principle of the Essential Freshwater package that the Government launched last year.

“This funding will support Māori to build capacity and capability to be involved in and make decisions for freshwater management in their rohe, which will support the implementation of the Essential Freshwater reforms.” 

Robertson says applicants can be either fully developed projects or project ideas, and if successful, officials can work with project partners to develop the idea into an investment-ready plan.

Applicants are encouraged to collaborate with other hapū, marae and whānau groups in their rohe to ensure projects have a strong impact at a local level and that they can benefit from collective support.

Expressions of Interest are now being accepted and the fund will remain open until the programme is full. 

Eligibility criteria, guidelines and EOI forms can be found on the Ministry for the Environment’s website.