More green jobs for stronger environmental health
Last week marked the successful wrap up of a trial programme which boosts job opportunities that benefit the health of the community and te taiao, an initiative funded by Ministry of Social Development (MSD), Department of Conservation (DOC) and Greater Wellington Regional Council.
The Whāngai Repo programme, launched in August under the Government’s Mahi mō te Taiao/Jobs for Nature initiative, employed ten job seekers to build practical skills and experience in conservation management.
This programme focused on enabling those involved to gain hands-on experience in their field of interest and to increase the number of qualified individuals in our region.
Phil Rutene, Ministry of Social Development work broker, says the programme is about nurturing the growing number of professionals in environmental roles to develop a stronger knowledge of conservation in our community.
“It aims to upskill keen individuals, so if they wish to continue their career in a conservation field there will be additional support provided to get people into full time roles.”
Greater Wellington and the Department of Conservation have led employment and training of the participants, alongside other groups who have delivered specific aspects of the programme framework such as environmental restoration, cultural connections, pest management, research and monitoring and environmental education.
Greater Wellington Wairarapa Committee Chair, Councillor Adrienne Staples says, “The group have been undertaking mahi around Wairarapa Moana Wetlands to help deliver on project objectives to restore the health of the wetlands.
“The Moana is a fitting location to appreciate the connection te taiao has to a wider holistic, cultural and community health – which serves as key context to any conservation work.”
The Whāngai Repo programme was successful in complimenting the ongoing initiatives of the Wairarapa Moana Wetlands Project, including restoration work at Lake Domain.
Greater Wellington biodiversity advisor, Toby Barach says, “The group did an incredible amount of work by helping to establish an innovative restoration and research project using an agricultural technique called Hugelkultur.
“They also planted an impressive 1650 native trees around wetland margins and set up a pest animal control network of 36 traps to control wild cats, mustelids, hedgehogs and rats.”
The structure of the programme has provided a combination of practical onsite experience and relationship development, so aspiring conservationists can drive their conservation journey through established networks.
Andrea Rutene, Department of Conservation Community Supervisor says, “This trial opportunity is connected to a wider desire to strengthen our region’s future by investing in people who will focus their efforts on protecting the environment.
“Thanks to the big push from the government with Mahi mō te Taiao, we can begin channelling such resources into protecting and restoring taonga like the Wairarapa Moana Wetlands.”
Although the Whāngai Repo programme has now come to a close, you can subscribe to Greater Wellington’s bi-weekly community newsletter to hear about environmental events near you.