Wellington Scoop

Lyall Bay and Normandale get money to become predator free communities

Press Release – Predator Free NZ
We are pleased to announce the addition of 10 communities to our Kiwibank Predator Free Community programme — taking the total number of communities to 55. The latest round of funding was highly competitive, with an overwhelming number of applications. The majority of applications were from well organised, highly motivated communities wanting to make a difference in their backyards.

The quality of applications in this round shows the growing number of communities wanting to get involved in the predator free New Zealand vision and how keen people are to do their bit by trapping in their backyard. Achieving a predator free New Zealand is a huge challenge and it will only be made possible by everyone working together and doing their bit. We’ve all got a role to play.

Predator Free Lyall Bay, Wellington
Lyall Bay is a coastal suburb and a geographical barrier to Miramar Peninsula. Predator Free Lyall Bay’s goal is to get 25% of households trapping. Their rohe covers the Wellington suburbs of Lyall Bay, Melrose and Rongotai, with plans to expand into Kilbirnie. These suburbs are geographically critical to a Predator Free Wellington, as they are a natural buffer-zone for Miramar Peninsula, which is aiming to eradicate rats this year.

Predator Free Normandale, Lower Hutt
This group is aiming to have a trap in every second home around Normandale and see kakariki, miromiro, kaka and more bellbird joining in with the tui and kereru already present. “We want to encourage the good work that Zealandia and Matui/Somes Island do and give those spreading birds a safe place to eat/ rest and eventually live, especially now as this year we have had sighting of kaka and kakariki in the neighbourhood. We also want to keep our freshwater kōura safe and see lizards basking in the sun, so our kids can see what we saw growing up.”

Pest-free Point Chevalier, Auckland
They plan to improve the native biodiversity of Pt Chevalier by greatly reducing the density of introduced predators. While there is some trapping and baiting conducted in parks and reserves around Pt Chevalier there is no organised trapping within the bulk of the peninsula where people live. They’re aiming aims to get one rat trap in every fifth backyard within 2 years and eradicate rats, possums and stoats from Pt Chevalier within 5 years.

“When residents start spotting kākā in the trees and fernbirds in the wetlands we’ll know that we are moving in the right direction.”

Tatau Pounamu, Rotorua
Aims to engage their community in the wellbeing of the natural environment by implementing sustainable environmental projects led by schools, young people, hapu and community. Their community is located on the eastern side of Rotorua and includes the suburbs of Lynmore, Ngapuna, Owhata, Te Ngae, Hannahs Bay, Holdens Bay, Rotokawa and Tikitere.

Tatau Pounamu will be targeting 500 households, 7 early childhood centres, 5 schools and 5 maraes.

The Karioi Backyard Hub, Raglan
The Karioi Backyard Hub is run by A Rocha Aotearoa NZ, which also leads the Karioi Project (a 2,300 hectare predator control programme on Karioi Maunga to protect seabirds) and delivers Environmental Education programmes to students and youth in Raglan

“Our aim is to significantly expand the Karioi Backyard Hub with the aim of bringing the dawn chorus back to Raglan/Whaingaroa by creating a predator free town.

Bring Back the Native Birds Group, Kinloch, Lake Taupo
Bring Back the Native Birds Group is a local pest control group attached to the Kinloch Community Association. Kinloch is a growing community on the northern shores of Lake Taupo, 20 kilometres from Taupo township. In the past it has been predominantly a holiday destination, however the permanent population continues to increase dramatically and there are now over 1700 properties in the Kinloch Village community. This has seen an increase in residents available and willing to support the efforts to make Kinloch predator free and support bird life.

Predator Free Bluff Hill, Napier
They are aiming to achieve a ‘predator free’ bluff hill community within 5 years, to have a committed and educated resident community and to have the Bluff Hill programme spur on similar programmes for the adjacent Hospital Hill and then into the flatter areas of Hawke’s Bay.

Pipers Reserve Trapping Group, Nelson
They are currently involved in the trapping at Pipers Reserve and are planning to extend their trapping efforts to their own and neighbourhood backyards.

“We all live in the Tahuna Hills/Pipers Reserve area and . our ultimate aim is to bring more birdlife (in particular larger passerines such as bellbirds, tui, kereru) back into the Pipers Reserve/Tahuna Hills area.”

With the increase in passerines coming out of the fenced Brook Sanctuary and the predator control being carried out by the Nelson City Council and other community groups as part of the Nelson halo project, their neighbourhood trapping programme will help by providing a corridor for birds through to the Tahuna Hills and ultimately the coast.

Predator Free Halswell, Christchurch
This group encompasses the Halswell and Kennedys Bush areas of South-West Christchurch. The group aims to increase the bird and insect life in Halswell Quarry and surrounding areas and has ambitious goals to re-introduce tui and potentially kaka to the Kennedys Bush area. They are also keen to foster an increase in existing populations of bellbird, kereru, silvereye.

By creating a buffer of backyard traps around the quarry, Predator Free Halswell hopes to supplement the trapping currently going on in the quarry inself. Longer term they want to extend out across Halswell where there is a lot of green space and restoration work going on which would also benefit from backyard trapping. These efforts will, in turn, provide good support for the Predator Free Port Hills work led by the Summit Road Society and, ultimately will contribute to a Predator Free Banks Peninsula.

Open Valley Urban Ecosanctuary (Open VUE), Dunedin
A community group in North East Valley, Dunedin and includes the suburbs of Opoho and Pine Hill as well as North East Valley.

“Our community would like to become an open urban ecosanctuary where native species thrive in an urban environment. Our vision is to bring kaka and other native species back to the valley. Our goal is to have our community see their own urban backyard as a small ecosanctuary that supports our native species.”

Open VUE has ongoing projects with local schools, educating their community on how to encourage native birds and other species into their own backyards – what to feed them, what native species to plant to encourage more species and biodiversity in their backyard.

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  1. Bernard C, 12. June 2019, 7:47

    Trapping, poisoning and Killing animals with the intention of a local extinction event for them does not increase biodiversity or encourage other animals to come to your back garden.
    Miramar will never be predator free, it’s a peninsula.

  2. Brendan, 12. June 2019, 10:19

    Well said Bernard C. Hedgehogs will always be welcome in my garden alongside the field mouse and the odd marsupial. Predator free vigilantes? Please keep out!

  3. Curtis Antony Nixon, 12. June 2019, 12:09

    Bernard and Brendan: The near-extinction event happened a hundred years or so ago when the foreign predators were introduced, most deliberately by “acclimatisation” societies, with the aim of transforming New Zealand into a little England.
    Where are the native geckos and skinks? I’ve never seen them in the wild in Wellington. They have been hoovered up by hedgehogs and cats. Where are all the native birds? Replaced by sparrows, pigeons, blackbirds and thrushes which were released because Shakespeare mentioned them in his plays and someone thought that was a good reason to bring them here.

  4. Kelly McGonagal, 12. June 2019, 12:47

    The predator-free campaign is a short-sighted planned local extinction event for biodiversity that the govt ignorantly labelled as pests. I see lots of geckos, native birds and skinks … maybe you are looking for them in the wrong places.

  5. Sekhmet Bast Ra, 12. June 2019, 13:58

    Slick marketing from Predator Free NZ, intelligent folks will see it for what it is and resist the entrainment process. Some members of PFNZ are on record that they find engaging in trapping “weirdly addictive”, a statement which has already brought New Zealand into international disrepute amongst both psychologists and members of the compassionate conservation movement. Others involved with PFNZ are on record “asking for New Zealanders to consider whether we should have ‘pets’ at all”. No one can deny positions such as these are about as twisted and extreme as it gets and we wager in the future, history will record this time as an era of collective psychosis and as an era of shame.

    St Francis of Assisi had this to say about folks who take delight in dispensing death to animals: “If you have men who will exclude any of God’s creatures from the shelter of compassion and pity, you will have men who will deal likewise with their fellow men”.

    Our prayer to Goddess on behalf of Predator Free NZ is may your funding dry up, your subscribers get bored, forget to check their traps and go do something more useful which does not create social unrest and may everyone who is involved with this nonsense have a large rat run up the inside of their trousers.

    In response to Curtis’ query about where the lizards are, habitat is the the key. Where we are we have at least two resident species of gecko and heaps of skinks, all peacefully co-existing with the Cats we keep. You could try building suitable habitat areas for lizards in your garden; once there’s a few good spots for them, they will come.

  6. Curtis Antony Nixon, 12. June 2019, 18:45

    Sekhmet Bast Ra – five years ago at my daughter’s school we built a lizard garden from scratch with all the right plants, basking rocks and a mouse-proof skink hotel. I’ve never seen a single one but there are lots of cats around there.
    And remember the difference between a pet and a pest is one letter!

  7. Trevor H, 12. June 2019, 20:27

    I think “collective psychosis” is very apt (thanks Sekhmet). PFNZ are not welcome on my “rohe”.

  8. Russel C., 12. June 2019, 20:52

    @Curtis – I like ‘little’ England, what’s wrong with it again?

  9. CC, 12. June 2019, 22:14

    In case you were unaware Russel C, the thing that was wrong with creating a little England is that the introduced predators have been an vicious invading army that has systematically been destroying little NZ’s own flora and fauna.

  10. Curtis Antony Nixon, 13. June 2019, 2:18

    @Russel – my ancestors left there, and came to a better place, i.e. here.

  11. Glen Smith, 13. June 2019, 9:40

    I am currently reading the excellent book ‘Sapiens- a brief history of mankind’ by Yuval Noah Harari which paints a chilling picture of Sapiens’ effect on the world. This started with other ‘Homo’ species. He notes that ‘the earth of a hundred millennia ago was walked by at least six different species of man’. As Sapiens spread, the resident Homo species disappeared. ‘The last remains of Homo Soloensis are dated to about 50,000 years ago. Homo denisova disappeared shortly therafter. Neanderthals made their exit roughly 30,000 years ago. The last dwarf-like humans vanished from Flores Island about 12,000 years ago’.
    Mass extinction of resident flora and fauna followed. Initially Sapiens ‘were unable to venture into the open sea’ so ‘Earth was separated into several distinct ecosystems’. But ‘Homo Sapiens were about to put an end to this biological exuberance’.

    ‘The journey… to Australia… was the first time any human had managed to leave the Afro-Asian ecological system’ and ‘thereafter became the deadliest species in the annals of the planet Earth.’ In Australia they encountered ‘unknown creatures.. that included a 200kg, 2 metre long kangaroo…a marsupial lion…koalas far too big to be cuddly…flightless birds twice the size of ostriches .. dragon-like lizards ..snakes 5 metres long…a two and a half ton wombat’. However ‘within a few thousand years virtually all of these giants vanished. Of the twenty-four Australian species weighing fifty kilograms or more, twenty three became extinct’. The same legacy was repeated elsewhere. ‘Within 2,000 years of the Sapiens arrival…. North America lost thirty-four out of its forty-seven genera of large mammals. South America lost fifty out of sixty’

    ‘The megafauna of New Zealand- which had weathered the alleged ‘climate change’ of c.45,000 years ago without a scratch- suffered devastating blows immediately after the first humans… The Maoris… reached the Islands about 800 years ago. Within a couple of centuries, the majority of the local megafauna was extinct, along with 60 percent of all bird species.’ Wikipedia has a slightly different figure noting ’43 (or 46%) of the 93 endemic land, freshwater and coastal bird species have become extinct’. Te Papa (https://blog.tepapa.govt.nz/2015/07/28/extinct-birds-of-new-zealand-part-1-a-diverse-menagerie-sadly-departed/) puts the number at 53 (15 since 1840) so 60% may be more accurate.

    The chapter describing this destruction is titled ‘The Flood’. Based on the comments from a number of opponents of Predator Free NZ, this is likely apt since it indicates a knowing, God like, willful, wanton destruction of species, other than the few that have suited ours needs (cats,stoats, deer, possums…).

    I live in Seatoun. Predator Free NZ are welcome on to my property with as many traps as they like, any time they like.

  12. Brendan, 13. June 2019, 10:40

    @CC – that’s your human value judgement system coming to the fore again. Returning NZ to a pre anthropocene epoch might be good for pantheists but I’ll stick to practicality and continue to get enjoyment from hedgehogs, field-mice, kiore rat (less so), cats, poultry, australian green tree frogs, pinus radiata, oak trees, apple trees, avocado trees, macadamia trees….all creatures and plants we humans helped to cross the seas from continental land-masses. So predator free movement? Please stick to Glen Smith’s human made and now human protected garden in Seatoun and others of a similar ‘exterminate all predators of a certain type’ ambition.

  13. Glen Smith, 13. June 2019, 12:04

    Brendan. Clearly we can’t ‘return NZ to a pre anthropocene epoch’ by bringing back all the species we have caused to become extinct and removing all the ones we have introduced. But we can recognise that we as a species have had destructive effects on the environment we first entered 800 years ago and take active action to minimise ongoing impact.
    The Endangered Species Foundation notes that ‘today nearly 4,000 of our most unique species are in danger of being lost, with 800 listed by the Department of Conservation (DOC) as being at a high risk of extinction. This number increased by nearly 200 species in the past five years. Just 25% of these high risk species are currently able to be actively managed by the DOC.’
    Don’t you think we should act to prevent these extinctions? Or does the titillating pleasure you get from your hedgehogs, mice, rats, cats and other species that are causing the destruction mean that, in your god-like opinion, these other species are just so unimportant that they aren’t worth the effort to save.

  14. Andrew, 13. June 2019, 13:39

    I am in favour of pest control, not eradication, within the suburban environment. It is obvious to me that you cannot get traps into every backyard. So, what do others think of ‘control’ versus ‘eradication’? After all, we have been controlling pest numbers in NZ since well before the lofty goal of ‘free’ was touted.

  15. Helen, 13. June 2019, 15:09

    @Glen: Can’t we appreciate hedgehogs for what they are? I think it’s great they are here in NZ. They are endangered in the UK by the way: pesticides and car drivers. So NZ is helping ‘species diversity’. I’ll just keep putting some stale bread out and a saucer of milk for hedgehogs. A bit of kindness makes you feel good.

  16. Andy Foster, 13. June 2019, 15:21

    Great news thank you Kiwibank, and well done to the Predator Free community groups in Lyall Bay and Normandale. It is absolutely fantastic that so many people up and down the country, especially in Wellington City, are getting actively – hands dirty – involved in predator control. Personally I’ve been trapping as part of Makara Peak Supporters ‘Katch 22’ group for 3 years.

    Curtis, CC and Glen – great posts, and a lot of excellent detail Glen. Simple truth is that we humans have caused the extinction of a huge number of species around the world. Sometimes that’s habitat destruction, sometimes hunting, and in New Zealand it’s also very much about introduced predators. If we humans were to disappear tomorrow from New Zealand predators would continue to eat their way through the remaining native fauna. So doing nothing is not an option, we have to be proactive.

    Why? Simply, we know these islands have been separated from any other landmass since the time of the dinosaurs. The lifeforms that have evolved here have evolved without mammalian predators and for the most part have little or no ability to co-exist, and certainly not to thrive. We have an extraordinarily high level of endemism among the estimated 70,000 species living naturally in New Zealand – ie species found nowhere else on the planet – 80% of all vascular plants, 70% of all native terrestrial and freshwater birds, all bats, all native amphibians, all reptiles, 90% of freshwater fish and 90% of insects and molluscs. If you think of the 70 odd million years of Zealandia’s separation from Gondwanaland as a 24 hour day, we humans have not quite yet been here for a second. However in that geological blink of an eye we and the species we’ve brought with us have managed to eradicate over 60 terrestrial bird and other animal species – all unique species, and we’ve reduced most of the remnant species to a tiny tiny fraction of their original number and range. 4,000 more species are just hanging on.

    To the opponents of doing anything: there is no way around this. Habitat protection is absolutely important, but without serious pest control our forests end up as what I remember former Minister of Conservation Sandra Lee many years ago describing as ‘silent cathedrals.’ New Zealand’s forests should be ringing with bird song and scuttling with skinks and geckos. You can so clearly see the difference that removal of pests has when you look at pest-free islands and mainland islands like Zealandia.

    Wellingtonians by the thousand are working to restore what we can, supported by both your Councils, NEXT Foundation, Predator Free 2050, Kiwibank and other corporates. Extinctions are hard to reverse. Becoming predator free in a large urban area won’t be easy, but there is a lot of science and planning going into it. It is another big step in Wellington’s almost 30-year environmental restoration journey.

    Our most recent survey showed 92% support for what we are doing together, and just 0.8% (zero point eight) opposed. Finally a great advantage to becoming predator free is that we don’t have to then keep doing pest control.

    Kind regards
    Cr Andy Foster
    Predator Free Portfolio Leader, Wellington City

  17. Mark Spencer, 13. June 2019, 15:46

    With all due respect I really doubt there is 92% support for this. Trying to use human beings’ track record for ignorance, destroying habitats causing animal extinctions as an excuse for a local extinction event, is madness.

  18. Neil Douglas, 13. June 2019, 17:11

    Andy – I wasn’t surveyed but can you put down as not supporting ‘Predator Free’.
    Kind regards, Neil Douglas.

  19. Michael Gibson, 13. June 2019, 17:13

    Andy Foster’s thoughtful comments are such a contrast to the twaddle we get from the Mayor.
    He should definitely run for the mayoralty.

  20. Andy Foster, 13. June 2019, 17:27

    Hi Helen – I used to think hedgehogs were cute, harmless things that bumble around the garden and occasionally get run over. The population in Britain is definitely in serious decline but still is thought to number in the 3 or 4 millions. Compare that to so many New Zealand species with populations in the mere hundreds or even tens.
    Problem with hedgehogs here is that they are voracious predators of insects (one found with over 280 weta legs in its stomach of recent kills), lizards, shore and river bird eggs and chicks. I have been told that they can kill small chickens, and we have a local story of a person finding a hedgehog one evening, thinking to show the children in the morning, popped it in with the pet guinea pigs overnight. Morning apparently wasn’t pretty at all – it had killed all the guinea pigs. So maybe cute to large humans, terrifying to a lot of smaller creatures.
    I also understand that hedgehogs in New Zealand have a widespread deformity of some sort originating in an early import, so I don’t think New Zealand hedgehogs would be wanted back in the UK.
    Kind regards, Andy

  21. Guy M, 13. June 2019, 17:59

    I have great pride in reporting to Predator-Free when we catch a rat – and most recently, two stoats. Evil little killers. The bush near us is definitely better off without them. Humanely killed in an instant, never knew what hit them.
    Neil, Mark, Helen, Brendan, Bernhard and Sekhmet, I’ve not been surveyed either, but every single member of my extended family is definitely keen on supporting Predator Free. This is a huge battle, but one worth fighting. Sekhmet – seriously – you want a rat or a stoat rather than a native bird?

  22. CC, 13. June 2019, 18:29

    Don’t worry Andy, Helen is unwittingly doing her bit. It would probably be better if she adopted Predator Free’s methods though, as milk poisoning would probably cause a dying hedgehog a great deal of pain.

  23. Helen, 14. June 2019, 0:22

    Thanks for your concern CC. The hedgehogs (I think there are two) have been doing fine this summer/autumn. Gone/going into hibernation to reappear (hopefully) in the Spring.