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New Zealand | Maoris ask government Covid aid be directed to forest restoration

Two Māori iwi, or tribal groups, are campaigning for a portion of the New Zealand government’s new COVID-19 economic stimulus package to help save their treasured, ancestral Raukūmara Forest from being overrun by introduced pests.

The Raukūmaras stretch across around 200,000 hectares (494,000 acres) of national park and private land along the North Island’s East Cape. The forest has major cultural and spiritual significance for local Māori, who believe the park’s centerpiece — steep, craggy Mount Hikurangi — is the resting place of the canoe that the demigod Māui used to “fish” the island out of the ocean.

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