Recently, Momentum Waikato championed the mahi of Pūniu River Care, with a Vital Waikato Grant as part of our Vital Impact Programme. With the help of that grant, Pūniu River Care was also one of just two Waikato region recipients to receive funding from the Ministry for the Environment (MfE) Freshwater Improvement Fund.

MfE has committed $100 million over ten years through the Freshwater Improvement Fund to support initiatives that improve the management of fresh water within quality and quantity limits.

The $741,000 grant to Pūniu River Care will help it achieve its mission to enhance the waters and replenish the taonga within the Pūniu Catchment. Specifically, funding will go towards a project in partnership with Waikato Regional Council to create an ecological corridor from Mangatoatoa pā to Rawhitiroa pā.

Shannon Te Huia, CEO of Pūniu River Care, says “this will help connect our people and create a recreational and educational space where we can experience nature safely. Shading the river will help replenish the taonga and encourage fish passage while providing habitat for many species such as macro invertebrates.”

The project includes riparian fencing to exclude stock, erosion protection works, planting 160,000 locally sourced native trees, and creation of a bilingual, open-source guide for marae-based restoration to enable growth in the development of other new organisations undertaking similar kaupapa.

Pūniu River Care is one of 33 projects throughout New Zealand granted funding from the Freshwater Improvement Fund, and the two projects in the Waikato shared funding of $1.64 million.

Further information can be found on the MfE website.