Wednesday March 21, 2018   Last updated 18:00PM

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Incorporation looks to repair land

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A northern Hawke's Bay Maori incorporation is considering growing hemp or manuka as a way to repair its land after years of leasing it out for sheep and beef farming.

Whakaki 2N Incorporation in Iwitea has received a $40,000 grant from the Ministry for Primary Industries to find the best sustainable use for its 466 hectares adjacent to Lake Whakaki.

Ben Dalton, the head of the ministry's regional growth programme, says it's part of a push by the ministry and local councils to address erosion, water quality and flooding in the Whakaki catchment, which is about 6000 hectares of mostly steep hill country.

He says land use options could include planting manuka, growing hemp as a nutrient management tool, monitoring the land’s rainfall, moisture and drainage, and re-introducing native flora and fauna to reinvigorate the ecosystem.

Whakaki 2N trustee Liz Palmer says doing nothing with the land was not an option, as the whanau wants to stay connected to the land and be part of the decision making.

The funding for the assessment comes from MPI’s Maori Agribusiness Fund and contributes to initiatives in the Hawke’s Bay Regional Economic Development Strategy and Action Plan, Matariki, which is part of the Regional Growth Programme.

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