Going pest free in Rodney West

Publish Date : 14 Mar 2022
Going pest-free in Rodney West
Boyd Steel and Tora Mckenzie

Going predator free in the Kaipara has been given a boost following a Rodney Local Board decision to appoint a Rodney West co-ordinator last year.

Chair Phelan Pirrie says with environmental restoration a key priority for the community and local board, it makes sense to invest $75,000 to co-ordinate community-led initiatives and support landowners undertaking pest control in native bush.

“About a quarter of Rodney is native bush and that spans a huge area. It’s this scenario which has seen us forge partnerships with local volunteers dedicated to enhancing the area’s environment.

“Investing in a co-ordinator is paying dividends with the predator-free network and corridors expanding, more traps and trap lines being laid, new volunteer groups set up, and relationships developing with local business.

“With so much of the district bordering agricultural land, we want to support landowners to undertake pest animal control in native bush blocks, in collaboration with the council, iwi and community.”

The two part-time coordinators are working with volunteer groups in Helensville, Kumeū-Huapai, South Head, Waimauku and Muriwai.

Rodney West pest free coordinator Boyd Steel with a trap built by volunteers.

Rodney West pest free coordinator Boyd Steel with a trap built by volunteers.

Rodney West pest-free coordinator Shona Oliver.

Rodney West pest-free coordinator Shona Oliver.

A new project Manu in the Ville harnessed local carpentry talent and volunteers to build over 90 traps from recycled timber. South Kaipara Landcare have supported the group to set up a trap line at the Helensville River Walkway which is monitored regularly. Traps can be bought for home use with the money going towards more traps and bait for the project.

Highlights include expanding the Predator Free Muriwai network, supporting South Kaipara Landcare with more traps and establishing the new Pest Free Kumeū-Haupai group better known as Pest Freek.

Established group Pest Free Coatesville has also received local board support with $10,000 going towards creating a defence line along two kilometres of the Riverhead Forest boundary and towards trapping networks that landowners are setting up.

So far, Pest Free Coatesville has set up a new trapline around the border of Riverhead Forest and landowners have caught 1,440 pest animals from June 2021 to January 2022. They have Department of Conservation funding to trap in Coatesville Scenic Reserve and their new trap line along Green Road has been a success.

Anyone wanting to volunteer or buy traps should contact Shona Oliver at shona.oliver@outlook.com, Boyd Steel at boyd.pestfree@gmail.com, or pestfree@aucklandcouncil.govt.nz

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