Erosion control funding to Ruatoria

KANUKA OIL TRIAL: Oil produced from kanuka trees grown in Tairawhiti is being clinically trialled for its effectiveness in treating acne, eczema and even reducing stress and anxiety. Kanuka trees (pictured here in flower) are endemic to Australia and New Zealand and are common throughout the Coast. They are a great tree for restoration projects, especially on bare, eroding slopes. Ruatoria social enterprise Hikurangi Enterprises has gained funding for the trial which, if successul, could open the way for a multimillion dollar industry in the region. Picture by Manu Caddie

AN EAST Coast group seeking to sustainably grow and harvest kanuka will receive up to $242,000 from the Ministry for Primary Industries for its erosion control benefits.

Hikurangi Bioactives Limited Partnership, a majority community-owned charitable company, is looking to identify optimal growing and sustainable harvesting techniques for bioactive extracts from existing mature kanuka strands grown in and around Ruatoria.

The funding comes from MPI’s Erosion Control Funding Programme (ECFP) community grant, which helps East Coast landowners, community groups, iwi, organisations and businesses with innovative ideas, reduce erosion in the Gisborne and East Coast region.

Deputy director general, sector partnerships and programmes Ben Dalton said Hikurangi Bioactives wants to optimise the use of mature kanuka that is already growing on about 30 percent of land in the Ruatoria district.

“The group has been researching new techniques and emerging markets for bioactive extracts from kanuka for use in health and beauty products for some time.

”If successful, the long-term potential for a bioactives industry on the East Coast could be huge and the whole region will benefit from a new, high value industry that creates jobs.

“At the same time kanuka has significant environmental and erosion control benefits and keeping it in the ground will help retain existing land cover, particularly on steep and erosion-prone land.”

The region has the worst eroding land in New Zealand because of its geology, steep terrain and increasing adverse weather events, Mr Dalton said.

Hikurangi Bioactives’ Manu Caddie says the group will work with plant scientists and local landowners to research a wide range of areas, including plant genetics, optimal planting and growing conditions and locations, best harvest times and techniques and the use of technologies to promote plant health and good regrowth.

“Providing jobs and education opportunities is also a large component of our ongoing work. Through this project we’re looking to raise awareness about the opportunities for kanuka and to give locals a real appreciation of job potential in the sciences, particularly in biology, chemistry and genetics.”

Since 1992, when the Erosion Control Funding Programme opened, $49 million has been spent on erosion control in this district, with 42000 hectares of land being treated. Twenty-six per cent of land is susceptible to severe erosion, compared with 8 percent of land for the rest of the country.

MPI works closely with Gisborne District Council and Te Runanganui o Ngati Porou on a number of erosion related initiatives. The three organisations have a joint team of people based in Gisborne and Ruatoria, available to support landowners and community groups through the application process.

AN EAST Coast group seeking to sustainably grow and harvest kanuka will receive up to $242,000 from the Ministry for Primary Industries for its erosion control benefits.

Hikurangi Bioactives Limited Partnership, a majority community-owned charitable company, is looking to identify optimal growing and sustainable harvesting techniques for bioactive extracts from existing mature kanuka strands grown in and around Ruatoria.

The funding comes from MPI’s Erosion Control Funding Programme (ECFP) community grant, which helps East Coast landowners, community groups, iwi, organisations and businesses with innovative ideas, reduce erosion in the Gisborne and East Coast region.

Deputy director general, sector partnerships and programmes Ben Dalton said Hikurangi Bioactives wants to optimise the use of mature kanuka that is already growing on about 30 percent of land in the Ruatoria district.

“The group has been researching new techniques and emerging markets for bioactive extracts from kanuka for use in health and beauty products for some time.

”If successful, the long-term potential for a bioactives industry on the East Coast could be huge and the whole region will benefit from a new, high value industry that creates jobs.

“At the same time kanuka has significant environmental and erosion control benefits and keeping it in the ground will help retain existing land cover, particularly on steep and erosion-prone land.”

The region has the worst eroding land in New Zealand because of its geology, steep terrain and increasing adverse weather events, Mr Dalton said.

Hikurangi Bioactives’ Manu Caddie says the group will work with plant scientists and local landowners to research a wide range of areas, including plant genetics, optimal planting and growing conditions and locations, best harvest times and techniques and the use of technologies to promote plant health and good regrowth.

“Providing jobs and education opportunities is also a large component of our ongoing work. Through this project we’re looking to raise awareness about the opportunities for kanuka and to give locals a real appreciation of job potential in the sciences, particularly in biology, chemistry and genetics.”

Since 1992, when the Erosion Control Funding Programme opened, $49 million has been spent on erosion control in this district, with 42000 hectares of land being treated. Twenty-six per cent of land is susceptible to severe erosion, compared with 8 percent of land for the rest of the country.

MPI works closely with Gisborne District Council and Te Runanganui o Ngati Porou on a number of erosion related initiatives. The three organisations have a joint team of people based in Gisborne and Ruatoria, available to support landowners and community groups through the application process.

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