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What you need to know about Pest Free Autumn

Published: 2 June 2020

Over the months of May and June we are asking Aucklanders to create a Pest Free haven in their backyard through placing traps, pulling weeds, and planting natives.

To help further support Aucklanders we ran a Q&A session with our Pest Free Auckland experts on Instagram and thought we’d share a summary of the great questions and useful answers to get everyone started on your Pest Free Auckland journey.

What you need to know:

Q: What is Pest Free Auckland?

Pest Free Auckland is a community-led conservation programme, facilitated by us, to control invasive plants, animals and pathogens, and restore the region’s indigenous ecosystems.

Q: How do I find out about a local community conservation group to join?

There are over 350 community groups working across 500+ local parks in Auckland.
The community ranger team can connect you with a group in your area or help you establish your own park volunteer group.  
Please email to speak with the community ranger team.

Q: What impact do pests have on our native species?

Habitat destruction by possums and rats, the predation of birds, their eggs, insects, lizards, frogs and bats causing the loss and decline of native species, native species being out-competed for food and habitat, and pest plants can smother native plants.

Q: What are effective methods I can use to control weeds in my garden?

Our Pest Plant Search has guidelines for how to control different types of weeds:

Q: What are 3 easy things I can do in my garden to help Pest Free AKL?

  1. Trap rats
  2. Learn to identify and tackle weeds
  3. Plant natives to help attract native birds and other animals.

Q: Are there any plants good for controlling erosion as well as good for native species?

Native NZ grasses are a good option, along with native ground covers. Muehlenbeckia is also good for banks to prevent erosion.

Q: What’s the best way to control possums?

There are few types of traps suitable for possum control but they need to be selected taking into account your property and pets. We suggest that you contact us at for further advice.

Q: I’m a teacher. How can you help me make my school grounds a pest-free haven?

Do an enquiry topic with your students about what is living in your school grounds. Learn about the plants, insects, lizards, birds and anything else that may be there. Identify which ones are endemic, native or introduced.

Doing all this will help guide the students to decide what to protect, what is missing that should be there and what pests are there.

Then contact a Sustainable Schools advisor who can suggest plans you can make with your students to create a pest-free haven at

Q: How do I report a moth plant infestation on council land in a reserve?

To report issues with moth plants and other weed infestations on reserve land, please contact our call centre on 09 301 0101 or via our website.

Q: Is anyone researching biodynamic methods for pests and weed management?

We continue to keep abreast of research into methods to control pests and weeds. In some cases, we support such research with field trials for example, and in other situations, we lead the research. Where new methods are proven effective and efficient, these are added to the toolbox.

Q: Where can I get rat traps?

Rat traps can be bought at hardware stores and other outlets - there are different types which suit different settings. Select a NAWAC approved trap if possible.

For outdoor settings, check the NZ Predator Free Trust online shop.

If you are a community group, please contact 
to see how we can assist you with your traps and other devices.

Q: What native plants are suitable for a small urban backyard?

Some good options include coprosma repens (taupata), hebe stricta (koromiko), kowhai, mountain flax, astelia, coprosma taiko, muehlenbeckia or native boom to name a few.

Your local garden centre can offer further advice on selecting appropriate native species.

Find out more

For more information, check out our guides to placing traps, pulling weeds, and planting natives.

Together, we can work towards a Pest Free Auckland!

Read more: Pest Free


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