Thursday, 17 November 2022 10:55

Project to lift regional water quality

Written by  Staff Reporters
NZ Landcare Trust chief executive Dr Nick Edgar. NZ Landcare Trust chief executive Dr Nick Edgar.

NZ Landcare Trust and Westpac have announced a partnership to help community groups improve waterways around the country.

The Westpac Watercare Project will see $10,000 grants handed out each year to conservation projects. Westpac will provide the funding and work with NZ Landcare Trust to distribute it.

The Trust works within regional communities to support sustainable land and water care initiatives and projects throughout New Zealand.

NZ Landcare Trust chief executive Dr Nick Edgar says the partnership will help local groups take action on key issues affecting our waterways.

"Many of our catchment areas are suffering from declining biodiversity, excess sediment buildup or poor water quality," Edgar says.

"We have roughly 106 catchment groups, 11 catchment collectives and 377 community Landcare groups, all of whom need varying degrees of support and funding to keep up their great work.

"With Westpac on board, they'll be better-equipped to make practical and positive changes to their local environment. That could involve planting native trees, weed control, trapping more pests, or investing in water-monitoring equipment, among other important initiatives."

Westpac NZ head of agribusiness Tim Henshaw says the bank is committed to helping protect and enhance our awa (waterways) for the benefits of all communities.

"We all want to do our bit to look after our backyard. By supporting the Trust's important work at the grassroots level, we're helping everyday New Zealanders make a real difference in their area and contributing to a cleaner and healthier environment," Henshaw says.

"With more than 5,000 staff around the country, we already have a strong footprint in the regions, and this partnership will give our people opportunities to volunteer on projects, working hand in hand with local communities."

The Eastern Whio Link, which aims to restore whio (blue duck) populations to East Coast rivers through extensive stoat trapping, recently became the first group to receive $10,000 grant. Westpac ambassador Richie McCaw spent time working with the team near Gisborne last week and was impressed by their passion and dedication.

"It was great getting my hands dirty with some really committed locals and seeing their amazing work up close," he says.

"For your average New Zealander, it can be hard to know where to start when it comes to conservation and cleaning up our environment, so it's really cool to see Westpac working with local environmental groups to give everyone a chance to make a real difference."

Five more recipients of the $10,000 grants will be announced in the coming weeks. Registrations for the 2023 Westpac Watercare Project will open next April. Groups can register their interest for a grant at www.landcare.org.nz/who-we-work-with

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