$10 million has been allocated from this year's Budget for the clearing of rivers in Tairawhiti and Hawke's Bay.
The government is hoping the money will help remove up to 70,000 tonnes of woody debris stacked up by storms.
Gisborne District Council and Hawke's Bay Regional Council will work with iwi to decide how the cleanup is prioritised.
Forestry Minister Peeni Henare says work needs to begin immediately.
He spoke with Corin Dann.