Media release

Media release: 32 groups funded $536k for environmental projects

Wednesday 24 May 2023

A total 32 organisations around Otago are the successful recipients of $536,470 - from both the ORC’s annual ECO Fund and its Incentives Fund this year.

An initial 49 applications were again oversubscribed by more than 100%, with $1.17 million being sought from $568,000 funds available.

ORC’s Manager Environmental Implementation Libby Caldwell says the annual oversubscription reflects the need in the community for this important funding stream.

“The work that can now be undertaken from these two funds is a great example of the ORC working in partnership with local communities throughout Otago, to improve the state of the environment across numerous needs,” Mrs Caldwell says.

That includes funding for water quality monitoring, trap purchases, animal and weed pest control, native plant nurseries and plantings and biodiversity enhancement.

Otago rural scene


The Assessment Panel, made up of Councillors’ Alexa Forbes, Kate Wilson and Alan Somerville, were “delighted with the quality and breadth of the applications,” Cr Somerville says.

“We're just sorry the funds available didn't allow us to approve more of them.”

“Communities know what matters most to them in their own areas, and funding from the ECO fund can empower them to turn those ideas into action,” he says.

Local groups right across Otago and the people involved build valuable skills and knowledge and strengthen their community connections., he says.

Current and future generations will live in neighbourhoods with cleaner water and more native bush at their back door,” Cr Somerville says.

Mrs Caldwell notes the ECO Fund also helps supports administration costs for largely voluntary organisations, for project co-ordinators and educational programmes and also for the use of contractors for projects.

“Assisting with these costs is an essential part to underpin communities’ environmental projects and ensure their sustainability,” Mrs Caldwell says.

She noted one application was incomplete so was omitted, and that Incentives Funding is ring-fenced, and cannot be reallocated to applications in different categories.

Each application was assessed by three ORC staff then the Assessment Panel of three Councillors and one mana whenua representative, with those recommendations going to Council.

Following the assessment process for the March 2023 round, the Assessment Panel recommended 32 applications for funding at a total value of $536,470, with 16 applications totalling $328,000 from ECO Fund and 16 applications totalling $208,470 from the additional Incentives Funding.

At a full ORC meeting today, Councillors this afternoon signed off the successful applications.


Funding table


Applications came from across Otago; with six successful applications around Dunedin environs, five around Queenstown and the balance of 37 spread as far afield as Oamaru, Lake Hawea, the Catlins, Wanaka and South Otago.


Successful ECO Fund recipients for March 2023 round. Total $328,000

Taieri Mouth Amenities Society

Purchase of 600 traps and tracking tunnels for trap library for residents to establish new trapping project. Animal pest control. $37,050.


Lindis Pass Conservation Group Inc

Weed control contractor costs for removal of lupin species over 30ha in seed source area in highly visible tussock grassland reserve supporting numerous threatened and at-risk species. Plant pest control. $9300.


The Moanariri Crib Owners Association Inc

Traps and trapping consumables for 80ha native coastal forest. Animal pest control. $4359.


Lake Hayes Estate & Shotover Country Community Assc

Materials to construct small native plant nursery, native plants to start project. Native revegetation. $15,000.


Mosgiel Rotary Club

Plants and planting consumables for riparian planting project. Native revegetation. $15,500.


Save The Otago Peninsula (STOP) Inc Soc

Wages for coordinator for native revegetation project. Native revegetation. $40,000.


Neighbours of Hikaroroa / Mt. Watkin Conservation Community Group

Contractor costs for post-OSPRI retreat deployment of self-resetting possum trap network, initial feratox knockdown, and volunteer training for landowner group with important forest remnants adjoining highly significant reserve. Animal pest control. $48,900.


Catlins Coasts Inc

Possum control strategy for northern Catlins landowners post-OSPRI retreat. Animal pest control. $13,068.


Royal Forest and Bird Protection Society of New Zealand Inc

Central Otago Lakes Branch purchase of new traps to increase efficacy of trapping network for mohua. Animal pest control. $3000.


Arrowtown Choppers

Building materials costs for native plant nursery to grow plants to replant after wilding conifer control. Native revegetation. $34,131.


East Otago Catchment Group

Contractor costs for electric fishing for freshwater predator removal to enhance native fish populations, monitor effectiveness of fish barriers. Biosecurity and native fauna enhancement. $21,000.


Papatowai Forest Heritage Trust

Possum trap purchase for coastal forest remnant. Animal pest control. $3250.


Orokonui Ecosanctuary Ltd

Wages for environmental education programme associated with tieke (saddleback) translocation. Native fauna. $24,720


NZ Landcare Trust - Ōwhiro Stream Catchment

Contribution to water quality monitoring and cultural values assessment for local stream. Water quality. $21,336.


Whakatipu Wildlife Trust

Wages/salary for Executive Officer role to facilitate expansion of trap network. Animal pest control. $18,692.


Landscape Connections Trust

Wages/salary for project coordinator for ecosystem restoration project in important and rare coastal forest type. Native revegetation. $18,692.


Recipients of Incentive Funding for native planting, following pest plant removal. Total $30,000

Fish and Game Otago

Native planting after crack willow removal. Native revegetation. $5000.


Five Forks School

Purchase of native plants, 1 ha site next to river, after removal of pines. Native revegetation. $10,000.


Mana Tāhuna Charitable Trust

Planting costs and fencing materials for riparian restoration project after crack willow removal. Plant pest control and native revegetation.



Recipients of Incentive Funding; native planting for water quality. Total $24,436

Ōtokia Creek and Marsh Habitat Trust

Purchase of tree guards for 3000 native species for wetland restoration project. Native revegetation. $8589.


Herbert Heritage Group

Purchase of 70 plants for riparian planting project. Native revegetation. $847.


Otago South River Care

Plant purchase for riparian planting project. Water quality. $15,000.


Recipients of Incentive Funding; biodiversity enhancement on protected private land. Total $30,000

John and Moira Parker

Additional rabbit fencing to reduce reinvasion of rabbit exclusion area around QEII covenant. Animal pest control. $2962.


Roselle Farm

Contractor to remove weeds (mostly hawthorn) from QEII covenant area. Plant pest control. $2192.


The Matai Hill Trust

Planting consumables for large revegetation project to enhance QEII covenant. Native revegetation. $5000.


Auldamor Ltd

Broom control in QEII covenant. Plant pest control. $5000.


Te Pukenui Trust

Contribution to fixing fencing for long established QEII covenants to retain stock proofing. Fencing. $14,846.


Recipients of Incentive Funding; sustained rabbit management. Total $124,033

"39-43 Lake Hayes Rabbit Project"

Contractor costs to rabbit fence 5 adjoining properties and fix access gates. Animal pest control. $8000.


Kirimoko Catchment Group

Rabbit proof fence completion. Animal pest control. $16,652.


Otago Peninsula Biodiversity Group

Wages, admin costs, rabbit fencing and pindone licences for community rabbit project. Animal pest control. $44,381.


Black Peak Road Rabbit Control Group

Rabbit proof fence costs. Animal pest control. $5000.


Moeraki MR BLKXVI Ahu Whenua Trust, incorporating 16 sections and landowners

Rabbit proof fence costs. Animal pest control. $50,000.


History of applications and disbursements


History of funding table


Background of the ORC’s funding

The ECO Fund was established in July 2018. The ECO Fund, including Incentives Funding, has funded 101 projects, from 232 applications, totalling $1.19 million out of $3.7 million sought.

The fund was previously six-monthly and has moved to annual, with applications open from 30 March for a month. The eight previous rounds of the ECO Fund were also heavily oversubscribed; on average by around 300%.

Established in July 2018, there were seven, six-monthly, funding rounds. A total of 76 projects were chosen from 184 applications and $753,266 disbursed, with this first annual round, in 2022, providing $443,125 for 25 projects.