Words by: Elaine Fisher

Tauira Mahi, a training programme that is part of the Jobs for Nature programme, has been launched in the Bay of Plenty with the first intake of 10 cadets.

The aim of the training is to open up new, nature-based employment opportunities and to promote sustainable land use practices and the implementation of new regulations, like the Essential Freshwater package.

Facilitated by Bay Conservation Alliance, the programme is supported by a grant of $3.5 million, and is part of the Government’s Jobs for Nature scheme launched in the 2020 Budget to boost employment, and protect and enhance the environment while accelerating the recovery from the impact of Covid-19.

“We are very excited to finally welcome our first 10 cadets with a special launch event,” said Michelle Elborn, CEO, Bay Conservation Alliance.

“A real highlight was the heartfelt welcome from Reon Tuanau from Ngai Te Rangi and his reminder to us all that when the land is well, the people are well – ki te pai te whenua, he pai te iwi.”

Environment Minister David Parker, together with staff from the Ministry for the Environment and Bay Conservation partners including iwi, DOC and the Bay of Plenty Regional Council, attended the launch in mid-January.

“We want to grow a cohort of people across New Zealand who have environmental management skills: from pest control, freshwater restoration, environmental monitoring and planting, to conservation work and more,” said Parker.

“We are also focused on improving New Zealand’s natural environment by creating enduring benefits for our freshwater and biodiversity, mitigating the impact of climate change, and protecting cultural values, like gathering kai.

“When we were putting the Jobs for Nature package together, we believed it was crucial to also focus on providing training and skills, so that our people learn skills they can carry with them for the rest of their lives,” Parker said.

Much of the cadets’ learning and work will take place at community conservation sites and alongside partners, providing additional resourcing for these projects.

The cadetship will run three times a year for the next four and a half years, and at the end of the 12-week programme the cadets will have an insight into a range of career options that support environmental outcomes, from data collection and GIS, through to water management, pest control, biodiversity monitoring, restoration planting and more.

Tauira Mahi aims to grow the skill capability in the Bay of Plenty region, achieved through a hands-on experiential learning work programme.

“It also marks an opportunity for new nature-based employment in our region,” says Elborn.

“A diverse range of job opportunities that cadets may consider on completion of the cadetship will be highlighted and they will be armed with practical skills and NZQA certifications to increase employability and personal success.

“It aims to deliver environmental outcomes across our community conservation member group sites and various landowner sites through the work the cadets will undertake.”

For more information or to apply for a future intake, visit www.bayconservation.nz