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Leading the (eco) charge

Project: Project Maitai/Mahitahi

Date: 2020+

Client: New Zealand Government

Location: Maitai/Mahitahi Valley, Nelson

The COVID-19 pandemic has had a devastating effect around the world. Societies and governments have been forced to respond at pace and in a variety of ways to avoid substantial, negative social and economic consequences.

Unprecedented volumes of investment have been unlocked by our national government in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, and our environment sector has been identified as a key area for funding to stimulate job creation and bolster economic performance.

Jobs for Nature.

Over $1.25 billion dollars has been earmarked for investment in the environment sector over the next four years - to create activity that generates jobs and incomes to balance the social and economic effects of the pandemic. Alongside existing funding models like The Provincial Growth Fund, Jobs for Nature aims to not only fund key environment infrastructure projects, but create new levels of sustainable, environmentally-focused partnership amongst key stakeholders - national and local governments, iwi organisations and private environment-focused groups.

Partnership is key

Over $200 million of the Jobs of Nature fund is being directed to regionally-based alliance model projects (Kaimahi for Nature).

In the top of the South Island, an existing alliance of 15 stakeholders - Kotahitanga mo te Taiao (Collective Action for Our Nature) - has secured over $3.7 million dollars for a major local environmental restoration project in the Maitai Valley. 

A pioneering project

As the first environment infrastructure project funded this way, Project Matai/Mahitahi has a critical role to play establishing a credible template for the effective delivery of future alliance-driven projects.

Nelmac, as the primary provider of environment infrastructure services in the top of South, has been chosen to take a leading role in planning, implementing and managing Project Matai/Mahitahi.

A very special valley

The Maitai (Mahitahi) valley, around 11km long and over 10,000 hectares, has long been used by Maori as a precious source for mahinga kai, rongoa, hunting, fishing, weaving and collecting building materials. More recently, the Maitai river and valley has become a much loved recreation space for Nelson city inhabitants, with its many river holes, walking and biking tracks, golf course and campground.

The Maitai river is also the crucial source for fresh water for Nelson city, feeding a large 50,000 m3 litre reservoir that serves a city population of around 50,000.

A thorough work programme

Over five years, Project Maitai/Mahitahi will drive employment outcomes that result in the planting of 125,000 trees, the restoration of 1.3 hectares of wetlands, and carry out pest plant control through the Maitai/Mahitahi and Brook Waimarama catchment (10,000 hectares).

Project goals include enhancing water quality, improving habitats, preserving indigenous plants and trees, and developing a food corridor to support the movement of native bird species across Nelson.

Resources and expertise

  • GIS planning. Nelmac will oversee site restoration assessment, planning and implementation, and coordinate the activity of multiple stakeholders, including iwi (Ngati Koata), user groups (Nelson Mountainbike Club) and volunteer organisations (Friends of the Maitai)
  • Mammalian and mustelid pest control. Nelmac will extend existing pest management programmes through the valley
  • Pest plant manage. Nelmac will broaden existing weed management services through the valley
  • Plant provisioning. Nelmac's specialised, large volume plant nursery, based in the Brook Valley, will ensure the provision of primarily natives plants throughout the project's duration

Looking for a conservation partner for your next project? Contact Nelmac on 0800 635 622 to learn more.

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