New chairwoman in charge at trust

Jane Riach (right), with Murney Trust representatives Tara Newton (left) and Jayne McLaren, is...
Jane Riach (right), with Murney Trust representatives Tara Newton (left) and Jayne McLaren, is the new Kanuka Mid Canterbury Regeneration Trust board chairwoman. PHOTO: SUPPLIED
Jane Riach has taken over the helm on the board of Kanuka Mid Canterbury Regeneration Trust, helping to balance biodiversity, predator control and planting for purpose in the district.

Mrs Riach, who was approached to take on the chairwoman's role, is equipped with organisational skills to help keep trust members on track and moving in the right direction.

She says the trust team was full of people already passionate about the work they were doing and had an abundance of energy and enthusiasm.

She, and husband Hamish, who is chief executive officer at Ashburton District Council, have been in town for just over a year, and Mrs Riach is already an active member in the Ashburton community.

She volunteers with the Friends of Ashburton Hospital and Seeds (Sharing Everyday Experiences and Drawing on Skills).

The role at the trust will provide an additional challenge.

Trust community connector Angela Cushnie said Mrs Riach "brings a positive, energetic and holistic approach to our board and we are delighted to have her on board."

The trust, formed three years ago, has in the past few months seen all the ground work of its early years come to fruition as more people have become aware of its value to the community.

Mrs Cushnie said more people with ideas had been making contact searching for ways to get their ideas off the ground.

The trust, which had a base of around 30 people actively involved with different experience and backgrounds, was always on the look out for groups and project opportunities to help.

They worked on the basis that "everything is connected" and assessed each project on its merit and benefit, working within strategic goals from education to action.

Mrs Cushnie said it was about using the knowledge and contacts of the people within the trust to help people in any area of the community initiate projects, and groups, which will benefit Mid Canterbury environments and ultimately the communities of people who live in them.

Key areas for projects included balancing biodiversity, predator control, planting for purpose and exploring our footprint with education with youth in schools and encouraging sustainable thinking.

"It's about empowering others to get their projects up and running, giving them the tools," she said.

The trust started with seed funding from Mid Canterbury's Murney Trust and recent projects have included the Champions of Change pilot programme at Ashburton College, work with Hinds School Mudfish Minions, helping the Hinds Lions Hinds Plains Biodiversity Group (focusing on the Hinds catchment) and riparian planting on the Northern Drain.

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