Largest Collaborative Team Working in Conservation in Aotearoa Receives Rātā Foundation Strategic Support Grant

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The Rātā Foundation, the South Island’s largest funder, has awarded global conservation organization The Nature Conservancy (TNC) $754,007 to support the implementation of the Kotahitanga mō te Taiao Alliance ( KMTT). The grant will support the strategy to achieve the best possible conservation outcomes for people and nature in the Te Tauihu region.

Recognizing that conservation can go faster alone, but faster together, 15 partners came together to form KMTT, currently the largest collaborative team working in conservation in Aotearoa.

The grant will allow TNC to support the environmental goals of KMTT – a collaborative group of iwi, the Department of Conservation and all councils in Te Tauihu and the West Coast. TNC will provide strategic support such as improved planning, incentive land use changes and better coordination of community conservation projects.

“All KMTT partners rely on each other in their region. The Alliance’s work aligns with Rātā’s goal of creating a world where people care for each other and the environment so that future generations can thrive,” said Leighton Evans, Chief Executive Officer of the Rātā Foundation.

KMTT has focused its landscape-scale work on the 3.5 million hectares at the top of the South Island, home to valuable natives and rare and endangered species found nowhere else. in the world.

“This strategic grant will allow KMTT partners to maximize the impact of the funding they have secured, such as the $20.8 million in government money received through Jobs for Nature, with $7.6 million in dollars spent on iwi-led regeneration in Te Hoiere/Pelorus Sound,” says Evans.

Kotahitanga mō te Taiao means collective action for our nature, says Martin Rodd, KMTT Co-Chair and DOC Director, Partnerships.

“Across our iwi, council and DOC members, we work collaboratively with community, business and philanthropy to deliver results for people and nature on a scale no single entity could achieve alone. “, Mr. Rodd said.

For example, KMTT restores critical areas in regional watersheds to build resilience to climate change, from the mountains to the sea.

“Projects of this magnitude require considerable planning. Rātā’s strategic investment in capacity and capacity building helps us carry out this planning and invest directly in quick wins that accelerate our momentum.

“It allows us to prepare large, investment-ready funding proposals that will help restore our natural world for current and future generations,” Rodd said.

“The aspirations and priorities of the Mātauranga Māori and iwi are an integral part of the Alliance. The collaboration of all partners is already making a difference in solving our difficult environmental problems,” said Dave Johnston, Managing Director of Te Rūnanga o Ngāti Kuia and Co-Chair of KMTT.

“Some of our early results are phenomenal as we dream big and lead change together – iwi, councils, DOC and TNC. We are gaining great momentum, which is needed, and others are joining with us as they see the effectiveness of our new way of working together,” said Johnston.

“All perspectives are important, and sometimes we have to look back to move forward. We are guided by our ancestors, who were instinctive in their approach. Some of their methods are considered best practices in sustainable living and provide a solution to deal with this crisis on our doorstep.

Mr. Johnston explains: “The way we work within the Alliance illustrates how we can work together to overcome adversity through kotahitanga and maintain the well-being of all whānau and nature at our center.

Rātā has focused strategic funding in its northern region on initiatives that will have a landscape-scale impact on improving the natural environment and emphasizes capacity building to make organizations more effective. communities,” said Mr. Evans.

“TNC’s mahi fulfills both of those efforts,” he says.

TNC, a global conservation organization, brings considerable international expertise and capacity to foster conservation outcomes and sustainable land use as the grassroots organization for Kotahitanga mō te Taiao. He has global experience working with indigenous communities on landscape-scale conservation projects.

“The Nature Conservancy works proactively with KMTT iwi partners to enable meaningful leadership and participation. This sustained engagement during the first of our major wānanga/workshops, and we look forward to the results of our work reflecting the important values ​​of our iwi partners as a result,” says Debs Martin, KMTT Program Manager for The Nature Conservancy. – New Zealand.

“It’s an exciting time as we really scale up what resource co-governance and iwi-led programs can achieve, delivering good results for taiao across Te Tauihu/Upper South Island,” adds Ms. Martin.

Spatial mapping, community and iwi engagement, and the development of Te Tauihu-wide measures of success are other elements of TNC’s support to the KMTT, which are covered by the grant.

Crucial aspects of the project are TNC’s support for capacity building of community organizations and on-the-ground results such as its important weed control project Restoring and Protecting Flora, prioritizing weed control programs high-impact to protect identified ecologically significant sites across Te Tauihu.

This includes a target of 14,000 seedlings to be planted for weed suppression on 3 hectares of priority sites over the next few years.

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