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Published: 2009-10-16 00:00:00

Environment Waikato is delighted with a Government funding commitment of $900,000 over the next three years to the Maungatautari Ecological Island Project, announced today.

The money will come from the Department of Conservation’s Biodiversity Advice and Condition Fund, and is the largest of more than $3 million worth of grants awarded to more than 70 conservation projects across New Zealand.

The size of the grant reflects the national importance of this natural heritage initiative pioneered by the Maungatautari Ecological Island Trust.

The Government grant matches funding commitments made earlier this year by both Environment Waikato and Waipa District Council.

The two councils recently signed a Memorandum of Understanding contracting the trust to maintain the pest-proof fence and control pests at a cost to each council of $300,000 a year over the next three years.  Waipa District holds the contract.

“Today’s funding commitment from the Department of Conservation will help to ensure the project’s momentum and secure the future of this groundbreaking conservation project,” Environment Waikato deputy chairman John Fisher said.

“All of the funders are determined to see the predator-proof fence maintained and the ongoing efficient and effective control of pests,” Cr Fisher said.

The memorandum of understanding sets out public accountability through two groups. The first, a joint working group of Environment Waikato, Waipa District and the Department of Conservation to review and recommend work plans for fence maintenance and pest management. The second is Waipa District’s Maungatautari Reserve Management Committee which has the wider governance role for the reserve area and will report regularly to the two councils.

These two groups will continue to evaluate the trust’s performance and its ability to effectively manage pests and maintain the fence. 

Two other Waikato Region projects also received funding from the Biodiversity Advice and Condition Fund.  These are the Moehau Environment Group on the northern Coromandel and the Driving Creek Wildlife Sanctuary in Coromandel town.