The funding is a part of the government's $1.3 billion programme Jobs for Nature announced by Environment Minister Eugenie Sage at Te Papaiouru Marae in Rotorua.
The $2.5 million will create eight jobs immediately and then a further 30 positions in the future. It will also allow Te Arawa Lakes Trust to kickstart a wetland restoration project working alongside the Department of Conservation, Rotorua Regional Council and the hapū of Te Arawa.
Sage said the project would focus on areas like wetlands restoration, which were critically underrepresented.
"We have destroyed too many of our wetlands - they are the sponges and the kidneys in the landscape," she said
"Te Arawa and the Lakes Trust have long recognised that the health of the taiao is the basis for the health and wellbeing of te tangata," Sage said.
Te Arawa Lakes Trust chairman Tā Toby Curtis is pleased the government has heard their calls. He hopes this will be a start to provide uri with job opportunities post pandemic.
"Kua aro mai Te Kāwanatanga ki ō tātou nei āhuatanga, ki ō tāua nei tikanga, me wā tāua nei mātauranga. I mua i tēnei kāore ngā taringa o te tari e tino whakarongo mai kia tātou," he says.