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Ed Sheeran

COVID funding for Raukūmara forest recovery

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The Minister of Conservation says for those in Wellington it has been the forgotten forest, but her department will now support tribal efforts to restore the Raukūmara forest on the East Coast.

Eugenie Sage has announced a $34 investment in the Raukūmara Pae Maunga partnership with Te Whānau-a-Apanui, Ngāti Porou, and her department, Te Papa Atawhai.

The pūtea will create jobs in pest control, trapping, restoration planning, cultural advice, carbon monitoring and biodiversity monitoring.

She says a trip into the 150,000 hectare forest and a helicopter flight over it brought home the crisis.

"Deer had got so hungry they were eating the bark of the trees and ring barking them. There were so many deer and goats they had eaten out the understorey and there were no seedlings. Flying over the forest, just seeing the grey spars of dead mountain tōtara because they had been so heavily grazed by possums, and there is that much browsing pressure there are no seedlings to regenerate - with the rats, they eat the seeds as well," Minister Sage says.

Funding, over four years, is part of the Government'­s $1.3 billion Jobs for Nature programme to assist with economic recovery following the COVID-19 pandemic.

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