The two organisations are supporting the mana whenua-led transformation of the Puhinui Stream and surrounding area.
Iwi collective Te Waiohua has brought together representation from Te Ākitai, Ngāti Tamaoho and Ngāti Te Ata to create Te Whakaoranga o te Puhinui. Together they've created an award-winning strategy for multi-generational ecological, economic and cultural rejuvenation. This is also backed by the wider Auckland Council and government agencies. This includes The Southern Initiative, Eke Panuku Development Auckland Manurewa and Ōtara-Papatoetoe Local Boards and Kāinga Ora.
SBN has secured $1 million from the Jobs for Nature Fund for this work over the next two years. The Milford Foundation has now boosted this with $1.2 million over the next five years.
The programme aims to draw in at least an additional $14 million in that time. This will provide training and support for urban-based nature careers for more than 50 local rangatahi.
It will generate more than 100,000 hours of weed control, pest control and native plant and tree planting. This will foster new community connections and associated career and business opportunities.
The first partnership is with Te Pu-A-Nga Maara, an award winning, youth-centred environmental group. With support from the programme they've recruited and equipped a new team of five “Awa Rangers”. They are now working on ecological restoration projects along the Puhinui. They are gaining the skills and experience they need to co-create their careers.
Another significant partnership is with Makaurau Marae Nursery. The iwi-led nursery is using funding from this project to hire and train new staff. They’ll be propagating the next generation of canopy cover for the Puhinui, aiming to grow 25,000 plants before the end of 2023.
The aim is to create at least 15 of these business and philanthropic partnerships. This will channel huge investment into this initiative. It will create more collaborations and partnerships to magnify and accelerate the impact.
Bryce Marsden is Chief Executive of the Milford Foundation. He says: “We are thrilled to be able to support this inspirational project. The Milford Foundation’s purpose is to create a sustainable future for generations to come and we are invested in facilitating measurable impact in the pillars of Youth, Education and Environment. This project embraces all three of our foundation pillars, and we see this as being a blue print to be rolled out into other areas around Aotearoa in the future. It’s exciting to be part of it.”
Piet Tuinder is Nature Programme Manager for the Sustainable Business Network. He says: “The Milford Foundation team can be very proud to have taken a leadership position on this. The area we’re working in has some of the lowest employment rates and health scores in the country. And its once abundant landscape has become heavily polluted and industrialised. This work is built on the belief that we can transform that together because the well-being of the people is intimately interwoven with that of the awa.”