The restoration area is contiguous with 1100 ha of primary native lowland forest (Waingake Waterworks Bush) which is home to a diversity of species including rare and threatened flora and fauna. The programme will create valuable additional habitat and provide a buffer of protection on the southern edges of Waingake Waterworks Bush from natural impacts such as wind damage and desiccation, to allow its long-term survival. Together these areas have the potential to be a major biodiversity asset for Tairāwhiti and a haven for taonga species.
The combined restoration planting, weed control and pest control components of the programme will aid in the protection of highly erodible land in the headwaters of three significant catchments; the Te Arai, Mangapoike and Nuhaka. Establishing permanent indigenous cover in these catchments and removing pest species provides an integrated approach to reducing sediment, lifting water quality, restoring mauri and upholding Te Mana o Te Wai.
We anticipate the project will lead to improved long term land stability which is critical given changing climate scenarios e.g increased intensity and frequency of storm events. In addition to helping mitigate the effects of climate change, the project will support the sustained capacity for carbon storage in old and new growth forest at Waingake.
There are positive cultural, social and environmental impacts from better connection to Te Mauri ō Ngāhere and from the passive value of improved heritage areas. An economic analysis of the benefits of the Transformation Programme, commissioned in 2019, found that these impacts are felt throughout New Zealand, rather than just being restricted to Tairāwhiti. The benefits accrue in four wellbeing areas:
- Social wellbeing – enhanced through civic pride and enjoyment of natural areas
- Economic wellbeing – through associated commercial opportunities, potential for tourism, and water supply security
- Environmental wellbeing – GHG sequestration, reduced risk to sensitive environments, enhanced environmental awareness
- Cultural wellbeing – connectivity to Te Mauri o Ngahere and heritage areas