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Eastland Group funding to aid river projects

Funding of $15,000 to promote the health of the Wairoa River is now open for applications.

The fund is provided by Gisborne-based company Eastland Group and distributed and managed by Wairoa District Council, who are encouraging community organisations to apply.

“There are so many different groups in Wairoa who are working with the community to enhance the mauri of the awa,” Eastland Group chief executive Matt Todd said.

The funding is part of the annual Eastland Group Wairoa Contestable Community Grants Scheme, which focuses on restoring and regenerating the health of the Wairoa River,

The scheme was set up as a partnership between the council and Eastland Group five years ago as part of the Waihi Dam out-of-court settlement reached by the Hawke's Bay Regional Council and the company in relation to silt discharges from the group-owned Waihi Dam, near Wairoa.

It now supports Wairoa-based community-led projects that follow the four principles of protect, restore, health and wellbeing in relation to the river.

Wairoa Mayor Craig Little said the council remained dedicated to restoring the mana and mauri (life force) to the awa.

Previous grant winners include Wairoa Community Ngahere Nursery, the Wairoa Awa Restoration Project and Hinemihi Marae Nursery.

The three local groups have since created a positive impact by carrying out native tree planting and educational programmes around caring for the river.

The aim of the funding is to have community projects support education and have community outreach initiatives, as well as encourage young people to engage in activities that promote healthy relationships with the awa.

Promoting the relevance and importance of the Wairoa River in the lives of the Wairoa community is another focus.

To apply for the funding, go to the Wairoa District Council website. Hard copies are available at the Wairoa i-SITE or the council's main office. Applications close at 5pm on Tuesday, Nov 30.