Parliament Release – 4 November 2018

A memorandum of understanding to remove pest animals from Banks Peninsula was signed on 4 November 2018.

More than a dozen participating groups and agencies – including the Banks Peninsula Conservation Trust, Department of Conservation (DOC), Christchurch City Council, Environment Canterbury and Ngāi Tahu rūnanga – have agreed to work together to remove pests from the 115,000 hectare peninsula by 2050.

“There is a strong history of community and landholder conservation on the peninsula and the pest free vision has been developed by the Banks Peninsula Conservation Trust in consultation with landowners and the community,” said Conservation Minister Eugenie Sage.

You can read the official release here.



Media Release – 2 November 2018

A huge biodiversity project to preserve one of New Zealand’s most stunning landscapes and its threatened species has today been announced in Twizel.

The Te Manahuna Aoraki project will create a vast 310,000 hectare predator free mainland island in the Upper Mackenzie basin and Aoraki / Mt Cook National Park. The area is special to many New Zealanders and is known for its golden tussock land, towering snow capped mountains, high country farms and turquoise glacier fed lakes.










The project, which was announced by the Minister of Conservation, will preserve these unique landscapes, securing a safe habitat for endangered species ranging from kea and rock wren in the alpine zone to braided river species like wrybill, robust grasshoppers, jewelled gecko and the world’s rarest wading bird – the kakī, black stilt.

Former Parliamentary Commissioner for the Environment Dr Jan Wright will chair the Te Manahuna Aoraki project. “For me, one of the most exciting aspects is the number of partners, including private landowners, iwi, philanthropists and government departments who will all work together towards a shared vision to care for this fantastic landscape and ecosystem,” she says.









The Department of Conservation, NEXT Foundation, Te Rūnanga o Arowhenua, Te Rūnanga o Waihao and Te Rūnanga o Moeraki are the project’s founding partners. They are joined by high country landowners, and investors Aotearoa Foundation, Jasmine Social Investments, Global Wildlife Conservation (GWC) and Predator Free 2050 Ltd.

Department of Conservation Deputy Director General Partnerships, Kay Booth says the project area has some of the most distinctive landscapes, native plants and wildlife in the south island

“This is a fantastic opportunity for the Department of Conservation to work along-side partners and ‘turbo-charge’ the biodiversity work already underway. We need to act now as invading weeds, rabbits, wallabys and other introduced predators can significantly damage this iconic ecosystem in a relatively short time frame,” she says.

Hamish and Julia Mackenzie from Braemar Station say high country farmers are excited about the potential of Te Manahuna Aoraki.

“Long term these pests and weeds will not only change the landscape but they’ll also have a huge impact on the biodiversity in this area, and once it’s gone, it’s gone. We would be very proud to know we contributed to making this area predator free,” says Julia.

Te Manahuna is the Māori name for the Mackenzie Basin. David Higgins, representative of the three Ngai Tahu rūnaka says it means ‘the place of enlightenment, or place of energy’.

“Having an opportunity to be involved in enhancing an area around our Mauka Atua, our mountains, amongst our tīpuna lakes, is hugely important for the three rūnaka, the manawhenua of that area,” he says.

The NEXT Foundation’s Devon McLean says Te Manahuna Aoraki builds on similar projects in Abel Tasman and Egmont National Parks involving iwi and other partners that have resulted in shared outcomes reaching far beyond conservation.

“Te Manahuna Aoraki is part of a growing series of landscape scale biodiversity projects that NEXT is investing in to demonstrate how much can be achieved when parties are brought together for a common goal. Our shared experience, alongside new technologies can make a real difference to the biodiversity in this area,” he says.

Te Manahuna Aoraki will involve a $4.5 million three-year initial phase to extend protection for kakī / black stilt and other endangered species and to test tools and techniques for the proposed 20-year, landscape scale project.

Predator Free 2050 Limited is providing funding to help understand the altitudinal limits and seasonal behaviour of predators in the area, to inform the design of a future eradication programme.

Todays launch coincides with the opening of new kakī/black stilt captive breeding facilities in Twizel, funded by Global Wildlife Conservation (GWC). The new hatchery and aviary were officially opened by Conservation Minister Eugenie Sage and GWC CEO Wes Sechrest.


Click to view  Te Manahuna-Aoraki project boundary.


Media Release – 3 October 2018

Dunedin: Predator Free 2050 Ltd will contribute $4.33 million to the five-year $15 million Predator Free Dunedin project, ensuring the city retains its crown as NZ’s wildlife capital.

In Dunedin this morning (Wednesday 3 October), 130 guests from 20 organisations joined Conservation Minister Eugenie Sage to celebrate the launch of Predator Free Dunedin.

“The Dunedin and wider Otago community has already shown its conservation leadership, with successful projects like Orokonui Ecosanctuary and Orokonui Halo,” Eugenie Sage said. “I look forward to seeing the return to the city of healthier populations of native plants and wildlife and a continued increase in public involvement in creating safe spaces for our distinctive indigenous species.”

Twenty agencies, environmental trusts, research institutions and mana whenua groups are working together under one umbrella to achieve predator free status over 31,000 hectares. Last year the organisations signed an MOU to work together on a Predator Free Dunedin management plan. It now has a budget of $15 million over five years, including $4.33 million from Predator Free 2050 Limited announced today. Predator Free 2050 Limited has recently announced funding for four large-scale landscape projects in the North Island. This is the first in the South.

Predator Free Dunedin spokesperson Rhys Millar said funding from Predator Free 2050 Limited was an important catalyst for the ambitious project. It will be used to support community-led initiatives to rid the city of introduced possums, rats and stoats which prey on native wildlife.

Predator Free 2050 Limited Chief Executive Ed Chignell said “Predator Free Dunedin is an impressive, grand coalition with capacity to make a huge difference. We want to ensure the city remains New Zealand’s wildlife capital and are investing big in people power to achieve that.”

Otago Regional Council Chairman Stephen Woodhead said “The Otago Regional Council is contributing $1.5 million over 5 years to Predator Free Dunedin with the hope that it becomes a ‘whole of Dunedin’ initiative. There is considerable activity occurring around pest management across Otago, but this community led approach is an exemplar for the rest of the region. This is a project of reasonable scale and one of which, those involved should be immensely proud. Well done! And on behalf of the Otago Regional Council and its staff we wish you the very best of luck with it.”

Over five years, Predator Free Dunedin aims to eradicate possums from the 9,000ha Otago Peninsula and to suppress rats, possums, weasels, ferrets and stoats across 12,500ha of land surrounding Orokonui Ecosanctuary, between Aramoana, Waitati and North East Valley. Predator Free Dunedin will build upon the great work undertaken by the Predator Free Peninsula and Halo Predator Free Project to connect these areas with a new Urban Linkage project. Dunedinites will collaboratively work to implement predator control operations in their backyards and in local reserves within the Urban Linkage area.

Volunteers will be supported by Predator Free Dunedin to form suburban backyard trapping groups to establish and maintain community trapping programmes through the provision of tools, best practice and resources. This support is through the existing projects managed by Landscape Connections Trust and Otago Peninsula Biodiversity Trust and through a new group being formed to co-ordinate action across the Urban Linkage.

Rhys Millar says Predator Free Dunedin will measure and monitor pests across the three key programme areas so they will know when they have reached the goal of being predator free. He says the visible signs of success will be seeing taonga species such as the South Island kākā, hoiho, South Island robin and rifleman dispersing and returning to parts of Dunedin where they are still not currently seen.

The initiative has significant funding support from the Otago Regional Council, with the ORC pledging $1.5 million over five years and linking eradication targets to its Regional Pest Management Plan. Dunedin City Council is contributing $850,000 in funds and making a practical on-the-ground contribution by focussing its parks and reserves predator management budget to the urban linkage areas, which amounts to a spend of $1 million over five years.

OSPRI’s TB-free possum knockdown programme, costing more than $3 million is providing the basis for long-term sustained control of possums across large parts of Dunedin’s north environs. Significant co-funding has been contributed by Predator Free Dunedin partners, including Maanaki Whenua, University of Otago, Landscape Connections Trust, Otago Peninsula Biodiversity Trust and others. The volunteer effort, which is at the heart of this project, contributes valuable in-kind support.

The 20 organisations that have joined together to form the Predator Free Dunedin Charitable Trust are:

Kāti Huirapa Runanga ki Puketeraki Incorporated, Te Rūnanga o Ōtākou, Dunedin City Council, Otago Regional Council, OSPRI New Zealand Limited, Department of Conservation, University of Otago, Otago Polytechnic, Landcare Research New Zealand Limited, Landscape Connections Trust, Otago Peninsula Biodiversity Trust, The Otago Chamber of Commerce Incorporated, Otago Natural History Trust, The Dunedin Wildlife Trust, Yellow-eyed Penguin Trust, Royal Forest and Bird Protection Society of New Zealand Incorporated, Otago Peninsula Trust, The Pukekura Trust, Save the Otago Peninsula Society Incorporated and Quarantine Island/Kamau Taurua Community Incorporated.

For more information visit Predator Free Dunedin.
Twitter @PredatorFreeDun



Media Release – 16 September 2018

 Ngāti Pāoa iwi welcomed Minister of Conservation Hon Eugenie Sage, Auckland Mayor Phil Goff, members of Waiheke Collective, key funders Predator Free 2050 Limited, Foundation North and supporters Hauraki Gulf Conservation Trust, Forest & Bird, QEII National Trust, DoC, Waiheke Resources Trust to Piritahi Marae (Photo credit: Peter Rees Photography)














Waiheke is on track to become the world’s first predator-free urban island, following an exciting initiative launched on the island today.

Te Korowai o Waiheke: Towards Predator-Free Waiheke brings together community groups, local and central government. It has secured substantial funding under the umbrella Trust organisation that aims to rid the island of mustelids and rats, to enhance the natural environment of this Hauraki Gulf haven and support the archipelago of pest-free islands.

The $10.9 million budget will cover a five to seven year programme on Waiheke, which will start eradicating stoats in 2019 and have rats in its sights across 25% of the island during 2020. After that, the aim is to expand the programme island-wide. Waiheke is already possum-free.

Major funding is being provided by Auckland Council (including $2.85 million from the natural environment targeted fund), Predator Free 2050 Limited ($2.6 million) and Foundation North ($875,000). Other funds, current services and in-kind support is coming from community groups, existing DOC and Auckland Council programmes, and Waiheke landowners.

Launched on the island today at Piritahi Marae, Te Korowai o Waiheke will involve a wide range of interests brought together under the Waiheke Collective, including Ngāti Paoa, Auckland Council, Hauraki Gulf Conservation Trust, Forest & Bird, QEII National Trust, DOC, Waiheke Resources Trust, and other local conservation organisations and individuals. Today is also the first anniversary of the volunteer-led Waiheke Collective coming together to enhance the biodiversity of Waiheke.

Predator Free champion and Waiheke landowner Sir Rob Fenwick, who has been undertaking pest control on his own land for many years, said: “Waiheke is already a jewel in the Auckland region’s crown and it will become an even greater taonga once it is the world’s first populated, urban island to be predator free.

“Due to the community’s ongoing efforts, northern kākā have recently returned and there have been unofficial sightings of kakariki. With the programme we’re launching today, other bird species expected to return or increase in number include kereru, tui, bellbird, piwakawaka, grey-faced petrel, NZ dotterel, little blue penguins, shore plover, bittern and spotted shag. One of the aspects that makes Te Korowai o Waiheke different is that our efforts will help both land and sea birds.”

Conservation Minister Eugenie Sage told the 300 guests: “The Waiheke project is a wonderful example of how agencies and the community are working together to reduce predators with the goal of freeing New Zealand of possums, rats and stoats.

“A predator-free Waiheke will see the return of native birds from neighbouring predator-free islands such as Motuihe, Motutapu and Rangitoto. We are already starting to see this happen with the recent return of North Island kākā to Waiheke.”

Mayor Phil Goff said Auckland Council is committed to restoring our native bush and protecting our native birds from extinction. “We have made fantastic progress in replanting our Gulf Islands with native trees and growing our endangered bird numbers such as takahē, kiwi and kokako.

“Our ambition is now to make our first urban island, Waiheke, predator free and restore the bird life that once populated the island. As a result of Aucklanders’ commitment to a targeted rate, we will be investing $2.85 million for predator eradication on Waiheke Island. This will be a gift from our generation to our children and grandchildren,” he said.

Predator Free 2050 Limited CEO Ed Chignell said Waiheke was the fourth project to receive backing from Predator Free 2050 Limited. “This will add extra magic to the Hauraki Gulf Marine Park and marks a significant step in the journey to a predator-free New Zealand.”





The Gisborne Herald – Reporter: Luisa Knight – 29 August 2018

Moves to make the Māhia Peninsula predator-free are under way.

The Gisborne Herald reports on Conservation Minister Eugenie Sage’s visit to Tuahuru Marae to discuss the project with iwi, project partners and the community.

The project was launched in July with announcement of a $1.62m grant from Predator Free 2050 Limited. Read the full article here.

WHANGAWEHI CATCHMENT HUI: It was a beautiful day at Tuahuru marae to discuss predator-free Mahia, the first phase of the $4.86 million environmental project. From left are the chairman of the Whangawehi Catchment Group Pat O’Brien, senior community ranger Melissa Brignall-Theyer, Conservation Minister Eugenie Sage, chairman of Rongomaiwahine iwi Moana Rongo, Hawke’s Bay regional council and catchment services manager Campbell Leckie, and executive assistant for Predator Free 2050 Limited, Kath Mead. Picture by Liam Clayton.


Radio New Zealand: National – 29 August 2018

Zero Invasive Predators Chief Executive Al Bramley talks with Radio NZ’s Jessie Mulligan about the latest plans to make South Westland’s Perth River Valley predator free. Listen here.

Read full article here.

A possum caught on a DoC motion sensor camera (Source: DoC)


Media Release – 8 August 2018


Photo Credit: Predator Free Wellington (top, bottom) and Kiwis for Kiwi (middle).

Major funding announced today from Predator Free 2050 Limited brings Wellington a step closer to becoming the world’s first predator free capital city.

Speaking at the funding announcement event, Ed Chignell, CEO Predator Free 2050 Limited said he would love for Wellingtonians to have a city free of possums, rats and stoats where birds like kākā, kārearea, kererū – and ultimately kiwi – can flourish.

“This is not a pipedream, the $3.275 million of funding Predator Free Wellington and Capital Kiwi jointly receive over the five years means the world’s first predator free Capital is within reach,” Mr Chignell said.

Predator Free Wellington and Capital Kiwi are the charitable entities behind this bold vision. Ed Chignell said they are just the third regional project to receive funding.

Wellington City Council and Greater Wellington Regional Council are both significant funders in Predator Free Wellington, alongside philanthropic organisation NEXT Foundation.

Chris Laidlaw, Chair, Greater Wellington Regional Council said: “We’ve already proven we can do this, we eradicated possums from the Miramar peninsula in 2006. This additional funding from Predator Free 2050 Limited allows us to take the next big step and prove we can scale up predator eradication across the whole of Wellington.

“Miramar Peninsula will be the first area to really target full scale predator eradication. Backyard trapping is the first hit, helping to get the numbers down. Next year we’ll rollout intensive operations, which will take a real bite out of predator numbers and put us in a much better position to achieve our ultimate goal of eradication,” Cr Laidlaw said.

“From there we spread the success formula into Island Bay and the city, and in successive waves north to Porirua” said Cr Laidlaw.

Strategic philanthropic foundation, NEXT sees this project as a blueprint for other New Zealand cities. Bill Kermode, CEO, NEXT Foundation said we know these plans are ambitious but we need big goals, big vision to make big change.

“What is remarkable about Predator Free Wellington is not just the scale of what is being proposed, but the fact that the project is centred in a major city where people work, live and play every day.

Wellington is leading the way with urban predator eradication,” said Mr Kermode

Wellington Mayor, Justin Lester said the Wellington people have strongly indicated, through the long-term plan process, they want a predator-free Wellington “This project represents an unprecedented conservation movement in the wider Wellington region, spanning community, government agencies, philanthropists, public and private stakeholders,” said Mayor Lester.

“It is a movement that has been growing for 20 plus years, thanks to the platform provided by Wellington’s pioneering trappers.

“Wellingtonians want to see this happen, we have thousands of households already involved, across 43 of Wellington’s 57 suburbs, backed up by more than 120 community groups.

“A predator-free Wellington will support the continued flourishing of other native species now present in Wellington City, including kākā, tieke, kārearea, kākāriki and little penguin.

“It will also allow for the translocation of kiwi to Wellington and other locally extinct species into the predator free environment,” said Mayor Lester.

Along with the Predator Free 2050 Limited Funding, Capital Kiwi’s vision of bringing kiwi back to Wellington has been kick-started by a foundational donation from the Wellington Community Trust.
Roger Palairet, Wellington Community Trust Chairperson said: “What a wonderful legacy we would be creating, to know that one day people would hear kiwi in their backyards.”

Predator Free Wellington and Capital Kiwi are one of the first projects supported by Predator Free 2050 Limited, a 100% government-owned charitable company. This partnership will help supercharge the eradication efforts and support the longer term outcomes for Wellington residents to embrace the change and help the city reach its nature restoration goals.




Māori Television – by Aroha Treacher – 3:34pm Tuesday 3 July 2018















Getting rid of predators and restoring biodiversity has come another step closer in Hawke’s Bay. Beginning with Mahia Peninsula, possums and other pests will be eradicated from around 14,500 hectares of land over the next four years.

$4.86mil to help make Hawke’s Bay predator-free and Mahia is the template.

“If we’re successful there then they’ll roll that out over the rest of the 700,000ha of the Hawke’s Bay region,” says Ed Chignell, Chief Executive of Predator Free 2050 Ltd.

“What’s exciting about that is, right now biodiversity is in decline. Our land, our water, all those sorts of things are real challenges. Taking out the predators is actually going to restore a whole lot of our bird life and all sorts of other biodiversity,” says Campbell Leckie, Catchment Services Manager for the Hawke’s Bay Regional Council.

More effective methods like wireless trap monitoring will be installed across farmland.

“You can have a little wireless node that’s on each one of the traps so you’re only having to go to each one of the traps that has actually been set, so that means you can put more of those traps out and you can have a broader network and less labour costs,” says Chignell.

The knowledge collected at Mahia will be used to develop low-cost predator control methods, not only in Hawke’s Bay but across New Zealand.

“The reality is, this is a 50 to 100 year game in terms of restoring New Zealand’s environment,. Our water quality, our land has been really challenged so what we really need to focus on is educating our kids,” says Leckie.

Taranaki has also received predator-free funding, with other announcements for different regions expected over the coming months.

Watch the full interview here.



Media Release – 2 July 2018

A project aimed at creating a Predator Free Hawke’s Bay has been launched in Napier tonight (5pm Monday 2 July 2018) with the announcement of a $1.6 million kick-start in funding from the Government.
Hawke’s Bay is the latest region to get behind the country’s goal to become Predator-Free by 2050.

The first phase of the $4.86 million project will focus on removing possums from 14,500 hectares of land on Mahia Peninsula within four years, as an initial step towards ridding the region of predators.
The knowledge gained in Mahia will be used to develop a low-cost farmland control and eradication model applicable to other areas of the region and New Zealand.

Hawke’s Bay Regional Council is investing $1.17 million in the project and Chairman Rex Graham says eradicating possums from Hawke’s Bay is both ambitious and realistic.
“We believe we can reduce the cost of rural predator control by more than 50 percent through smart technology and project design, and with landowners’ help I’m confident we can remove them from our landscapes,” says Mr Graham.

Hawke’s Bay Regional Council Chief Executive James Palmer says the project fits with the Council’s overarching goal of improving the region’s natural ecosystems and biodiversity and is reflected in the council’s Long-Term Plan and proposed Regional Pest Management Plan.

“The Regional Council is committed to building strong partnerships and this project is all about working alongside iwi, local and national organisations and the Government to achieve common goals,” says Mr Palmer.
The project builds on the success of the Cape to City and Poutiri Ao ō Tāne projects, which have so far delivered more than 34 thousand hectares of innovative farmland control of possums, mustelids and wild cats, including wireless trap monitoring. An important element of these projects is the strong relationships that have been built with local iwi, as well as hundreds of landowners, schoolchildren and teachers.

Predator Free 2050 Limited Chief Executive Ed Chignell says predator control at Cape Sanctuary and the Maungaharuru range show how native seabirds, threatened land birds and unique wildlife like tuatara can return to the region once predators are removed.

“This project gets us started on the East Coast and enables new innovation and approaches that will be essential for our national predator free goal,” says Mr Chignell.
Predator Free 2050 Limited was created in 2016 to enable co-funding arrangements with councils, philanthropists, businesses and other agencies for large landscape predator control and eradication projects and for breakthrough science.

The Predator Free Hawke’s Bay project is also receiving funding from Aotearoa Foundation, Manaaki Whenua/ Landcare Research, Department of Conservation, OMV NZ Ltd, Maungaharuru Tangitū, Zero Invasive Predators and farmers.

Last month Predator Free 2050 Limited announced funding for a predator-free project in Taranaki and the company expects to make further funding announcements in other parts of New Zealand over coming months.















































Media Release – 30 May 2018

A large-scale predator project, the biggest of its kind in New Zealand, was launched in Taranaki today (Wednesday 30 May) supported by more than $11 million from the Government.

Taranaki aims to be the first predator-free region in the country under the project, called Taranaki Taku Tūranga – Our Place, Towards a Predator-Free Taranaki and is led by the Taranaki Regional Council.

It is the first large-scale project to receive funding from Predator Free 2050 Ltd, the company set up by the Government in 2016 to help New Zealand achieve its predator-fee 2050 goal. The $11.7 million of funding support over five years was announced today by Conservation Minister, Hon Eugenie Sage.










Towards a Predator-Free Taranaki will cost $47 million in the first five years with the ultimate aim of removing stoats, rats, and possums from all land types across the region – farmland, urban land, public parks, reserves and Mt Taranaki – by 2050. It is the first time this has been attempted in New Zealand, and the latest technology and trapping techniques will used, with lessons shared, helping New Zealand achieve its predator-free aspiration.

TRC Chairman David MacLeod says strong community support will be vital to succeed and he’s confident Taranaki people will get behind it.

“This is a massive opportunity for the region and for New Zealand. The support from Predator Free 2050 Ltd enables our region to protect and enhance native wildlife and plants, building on existing predator-control work, “he says.

Remote sensors, wireless nodes and a trapping app will be among IOT (Internet of Things) technology used to remove predators and prevent re-infestations. The high-tech equipment makes trapping more efficient, particularly in rural areas, and provides live trapping data – sending a smartphone alert to the user when a trap goes off. Data will also be collated about how, where and when predators are caught, helping the Council identify clusters and tweak the trapping network.

A virtual barrier, made up of natural barriers, traps and remote sensors, will prevent re-infestations and will be moved across the region as predators are removed from each area. The region will be divided into pizza-slice sections and different phases of work will be rolled out around the mountain, starting in the New Plymouth area, Oakura and the Kaitake Range.

“Taranaki has unique advantages that can make it the first region in the country to remove introduced predators – its relatively compact geography, its regional and national expertise in biodiversity and predator control, and strong community collaboration and enthusiasm at all levels,” Mr MacLeod says.











The project will link with successful predator work in Egmont National Park by Taranaki Mounga Project, which has already reduced predators to low levels and allowed the reintroduction of several species including the North Island robin (toutouwai) and blue duck (whio).

The project will also build on existing work in urban and rural areas, including the Council’s voluntary urban possum control programme in New Plymouth, and its rural Self-Help Possum Programme, one of the biggest programmes of its kind in the country which is keeping possum numbers at low levels.

Predator Free 2050 Ltd Chief Executive Ed Chignell is excited about the opportunities to advance the rest of the country’s predator work using lessons learnt from Towards a Predator-Free Taranaki.

“I’m thrilled to support Towards a Predator-Free Taranaki. This exciting project is uniting a community against predators, using traditional and new methods to remove possums, rats and stoats from the region. A project of this size and covering all land types has never been attempted before and the lessons learnt will be shared with the country, advancing New Zealand’s predator-free 2050 goal,” Mr Chignell says.

“The Taranaki Regional Council is a leader in biosecurity and biodiversity and I’m convinced the people behind this project have the experience and expertise to succeed and contribute to New Zealand’s predator-free aspirations.”

Towards a Predator-Free Taranaki will rely on collaboration between TRC, the region’s three district councils, residents, Taranaki Mounga Project and the region’s biodiversity coalition, Wild for Taranaki.

“This project is taking Taranaki forward and its success is in the hands of the people of the region. We’ll be reaching out to schools, community groups, farmers and residents in different areas in the coming months as we enter new phases of the project,” Mr MacLeod says.

For more information on how to get involved please visit Taranaki Regional Council’s website.



National Geographic – May/June 2018 Issue

They may appear common around carparks, but the latest issue of New Zealand Geographic finds kea numbers are falling dramatically and asks what we can do about it.

Read the full article click cover below:


Radio NZ – 7 May 2018

Sir Rob Fenwick talks to Jesse Mulligan about how the predator free movement fits together and how it might go faster. Listen to the interview here.

Volunteers hard at work [Photo Credit: Department of Conservation]


YouTube – 4 April 2018

Last year the Hauturu-ō-Toi / Little Barrier Island Nature Reserve Management Plan was approved by the Ngāti Manuhiri Settlement Trust and Auckland Conservation Board.

The plan provides a co-governance framework that recognises Ngāti Manuhiri as kaitiaki and guides the Department of Conservation in management of the Hauturu-ō-Toi / Little Barrier Island Nature Reserve, on behalf of all New Zealanders.

Hihi and wetapunga survived only on Hauturu-ō-Toi and have since been translocated elsewhere.

Wild cats were removed in 1981 and kiore in 2004 to further safeguard this precious off-shore sanctuary, New Zealand’s ark.

Predator Free 2050 Limited’s goal is to create large landscape (>20,000 ha) areas on the mainland where native species can also thrive, reducing the risk of having populations on just a few off-shore islands and increasing opportunities for New Zealanders to appreciate them.

This video by Natural Heritage New Zealand provides a glimpse of Aotearoa as it once was, “the gold-standard for predator-free New Zealand.”

(Click image to watch video)


YouTube – 28 March 2018

…CEO Ed Chignell told participants at Predator Free New Zealand Trust’s 2018 Stakeholders Meeting in Wellington.

Watch the full presentation here.

A key slide from CEO Ed Chignell’s stakeholder presentation.

A ZERO-SUM GAME Article – 17 February 2018

As part of its science strategy Predator Free 2050 Limited is collaborating with the Department of Conservation and Zero Invasive Predators Ltd (ZIP) on a project to completely remove possums from a 12,000 hectare block within the Perth Valley (South Westland )and then prevent them from re-establishing. Can this approach negate the need for repeated use of landscape-scale aerial 1080? Can this predator management approach also work for ship rats and stoats and pave the way toward Predator Free 2050?

Dave Hansford recently reported on the project for The Dominion newpaper ‘A Zero-Sum Game’.



Briefing November 2017








News Release – 22 November 2017

Out of a record-breaking 47 entries, the three winning ideas of WWF-New Zealand’s 2017 Conservation Innovation Awards, announced tonight are: a high-tech thermal imaging solution for invasive species’ management; a device that detects real-time E. coli contamination in freshwater; and an innovation that combines thermal imaging and artificial intelligence for a predator free New Zealand.

The Kiwi winners will each be awarded a $25,000 grant to fast-track their ideas from concept to development, to maximize impact for conservation, making a real difference in the fight to protect precious ecosystems and native species.

“We’re thrilled to announce our amazing 2017 winners,” said Livia Esterhazy, WWF-New Zealand’s Chief Executive Officer. “These big, bold ideas offer new solutions to some of our greatest environmental challenges, such as freshwater quality and invasive pests. These are Aotearoa’s only Conservation Innovation Awards, and WWF-New Zealand is passionate to support smarter ways to improve, protect and restore NZ’s unique biodiversity.”

The winning ideas for 2017 are:

Thermal Animal Detection Systems (TADS)

Using a helicopter, the military grade, thermal imaging TADS system can quickly cover difficult terrain and large forested areas and has the ability to detect 90 – 100% of a target invasive pest population (goats, deer and pigs). The judging panel was very impressed by TADS as it has huge potential to reduce costs and improve the effectiveness of managing ungulates in conservation reserves and offshore islands and could be used to monitor endangered native species. “We’re so excited to win this Award,” said winner Jordan Munn from Upper Hutt’s Trap and Trigger. “This financial help is the boost we need to finish the product and get it into the air working perfectly.”

Real-time E. coli Sensor

Wairarapa-based Water Action Initiative New Zealand (WAI NZ) is developing a water-borne E. coli contamination sensor that can give community members and regional councils a tool to monitor freshwater in real-time, providing immediate detection of increased E.coli levels so that swifter action can be taken. The judging panel believes the sensor will revolutionise how freshwater can be tested with wider benefits for ecosystem health. Winner Grant Muir said: “We want to see all NZ rural and urban water catchments protected and enhanced for future generations, so winning this Award is such a boost with a pathway to refine, develop and manufacture the sensor”.

Grid-i Pest Detective
Gerald Dickinson of GRID-i on stage; -David Tong WWF-NZ

The Grid-i innovation, developed by Wellington electronic design enthusiast Gerald Dickinson, combines thermal imaging and artificial intelligence software to identify and monitor specific invasive mammal pests like rats and possums. Having the ability to move away from current indiscriminate pest removal methods and target specific species more accurately will be widely beneficial for conservation operations working towards a Predator Free New Zealand 2050. The judging panel was excited as this technology has great potential for eradication operations to locate and remove the last few pests from an area. “This Award opens up many new doors where we can finally come out of a backyard garage to progress Grid-i as an advanced and more affordable predator management tool,” Mr Dickinson said.

Ms Esterhazy said it was a very tough competition this year to select the three inspiring winners as there were 35 impressive finalists. “It was so close that we decided to award this year, for the first time, a special commendation to Squawk Squad,” she said.

“Using fun and interactive school campaigns, Squawk Squad is an exciting idea from passionate young Kiwis who got 40,000 kids and 800 schools involved in conservation in one week. Kiwi kids are the future of conservation in New Zealand, so as our 2017 special commendation, we’re keen to work with Squawk Squad to maximize their conservation potential.”

The 2017 Awards are supported by The Tindall Foundation, Department of Conservation, Callaghan Innovation, Predator Free 2050 and New Zealand’s Biological Heritage National Science Challenge.

For information about the Awards, visit


SCIENCE AND SOCIAL LICENSE: The Predator Free 2050 Research Strategy 

News Release – 16 November 2017

Predator Free 2050 Limited today revealed the organisation’s four-part science research strategy to help save our natural heritage.

Developed in partnership with leading scientists and predator control experts, the strategy is designed to achieve one of the organisation’s 2025 interim goals; a break-through science solution capable of eradicating a mammalian predator from the New Zealand mainland.

The strategy outlines four concurrent programmes: ‘environment and society’, ‘eradicating the last 1%’, ‘new genetic control tools’ and ‘computer modelling’.

“This is how we intend to drive the science behind Predator Free 2050” says Ed Chignell, CEO of Predator Free 2050 Limited.

The research strategy has the backing of New Zealand’s Biological Heritage National Science Challenge and has undergone review by independent experts.

Dr Dan Tompkins, Project Manager for the Predator Free 2050 Limited Science Strategy, says that the focus of the approach is on informing a national conversation.

“The first programme of the research strategy is ‘environment and society’, an exploration of New Zealand’s social and cultural views about predator eradication. It is the foundation for the entire strategy and signals Predator Free 2050’s commitment to transparency and dialogue right from the outset. A science breakthrough without a deep respect for ethics and the social license to operate, is no breakthrough at all.”

Elements of the ‘environment and society’ programme are underway through a bioethics panel and a recently completed social survey – both initiated by the Biological Heritage National Science Challenge.

“The strategy separates technical research into two further programmes, each separate pathways to achieve the Predator Free goal” says Dr Tompkins.

“A programme on ‘eradicating the last 1%’ focuses on upgrading current predator control approaches. While New Zealand is a world leader in mammalian pest control, eradication and keeping areas predator free remains a challenge.”

“Recent advances in fields like wireless remote monitoring and AI offer exciting potential to innovate and build on the success of current approaches. Initially, the ‘eradicating the last 1%’ programme will focus on possums.”

The second technical programme aims to inform New Zealanders as to the benefits and risks of ‘new genetic control tools’, prior to any commitment to develop such tools for Predator Free 2050. Dr Tompkins acknowledges the concerns some New Zealanders and international observers have about this approach and notes that there are many technological hurdles to overcome.

“Predator Free 2050 are not advocating for any specific technology to achieve New Zealand’s eradication goals. The organisation’s role is to advance our understanding of the range of options available for the task and facilitate a national conversation as to which approaches meet our collective social, ethical and practical standards.”

“Informed by international perspectives, New Zealand stakeholders need to collectively decide which technologies should have a place in the Predator Free 2050 vision, and which should not.”

Underpinning the Predator Free 2050 research strategy is the fourth programme, ‘computer modelling’. This involves the development of shared tools that all communities and agencies contributing to Predator Free 2050 can use to design the right approach for their goals and environment.

Dr Andrea Byrom, Director of the Biological Heritage Science Challenge, says the organisation stands behind the Predator Free research strategy.

“The Challenge has always recognised that the Predator-Free vision is bigger than all of us, so we support a collective effort – including a coordinated and joined-up science and research effort – to achieve this goal.”

The release of the research strategy follows Predator Free 2050 Limited’s recent call for expressions of interest in funding and support for landscape scale predator control projects.

For more information on the science research strategy.


Update – 8 October 2017

Search is on for the next environmental game-changers

As of today, 25 ​entries have been logged from Kiwis across the country for WWF-New Zealand’s 2017 Conservation Innovation Awards, including from Dunedin, Nelson, Auckland, Raglan, Kerikeri, Hamilton, Martinborough, Wellington, Palmerston North, Christchurch and Waikanae. And we are welcoming many more entries.

Closing on 15 October, the Conservation Innovation Awards will reward innovative environmental game-changers. To submit your idea, visit Designed to help innovators fast-track their ideas to development, the Awards cover three categories – Engaging young people and communities, Predator Free New Zealand 2050, and an Open Category. A prize package of $25,000 will be awarded to each category winner.

All New Zealanders can get involved in the Awards by joining the WWF Conservation Innovation community at to comment and vote on their favourite ideas.

The 2017 Awards are supported by The Tindall Foundation, Department of Conservation, Callaghan Innovation, Predator Free 2050 Limited and New Zealand’s Biological Heritage National Science Challenge.

Entrants need to submit their ideas as soon as they can at For information about the Awards and past winners, visit





Release – 26 September 2017

WWF NZ and Predator Free 2050 Limited are looking for big, bold game-changers to help our environment.

If you’re an inventor, an innovator, or a creator, enter the 2017 Conservation Innovation Awards for the chance to win a $25k grant.

The Awards – open from 25 September to 15 October – celebrate Kiwi innovators whose bright ideas look set to make a real difference in protecting our precious ecosystems and native species.

Prizes will be awarded in three categories:

  • Engaging young people and communities
  • Predator Free New Zealand 2050
  • Open Category

Find out more about the Conservation Innovation Awards

Last year’s winners were a water testing device, a drone tracking system and an app that maps kauri dieback.

“The Award has opened doors, broken down some barriers and opened minds to what is achievable.” Philip Solaris, 2016 winner with ‘DroneCounts’

The Conservation Innovation Awards are supported by The Tindall Foundation, Department of Conservation, Callaghan Innovation, Predator Free 2050 Limited and New Zealand’s Biological Heritage National Science Challenge.

We’re proud to support people who are leading innovation in New Zealand conservation and protecting our unique places and wildlife.



Ed Chignell, CEO interview – 16 September 2017

Predator Free 2050 Limited, CEO, Ed Chignell, talks to Radio Live’s Graeme Hill about Predator Free 2050 and the recent call out for expressions of interest to parties seeking funding and support for large scale predator eradication projects.  Listen to the interview here.


News Release — 12 September 2017

Starting today (12 September), New Zealand conservation groups committed to broad scale predator eradication are encouraged to lodge an expression of interest for funding and support from Predator Free 2050 Limited.

The organisation – tasked with eradicating possums, rats and stoats from New Zealand by 2050 is seeking Expressions of Interest from regional and local councils, community organisations, mana whenua, businesses, Non-Governmental Organisations and other entities capable of delivering eradication initiatives in line with its 2025 goals.

The 2025 goals include enlarging target predator suppression to an additional one million hectares of mainland New Zealand, eradicating predators from at least 20,000 hectares of mainland New Zealand without the use of fences, eradicating all predators from New Zealand’s island nature reserves and achieving a breakthrough science solution capable of eradicating at least one small mammalian predator from the mainland.

Predator Free 2050 Limited is required to secure matching investment of $2 for every $1 of Crown investment. Accordingly, any proposed landscape scale projects need to be able of demonstrating the ability or potential to provide sufficient funding to meet these financial parameters.

Expressions of interest will need to demonstrate a clear potential for large-scale predator eradication and will be evaluated against 13 criteria. Most notably, projects need to be ambitious in scale, capable of delivering transformational biodiversity gains, align to the Predator Free mission and demonstrate sound management capacity and financials.

Predator Free 2050 Limited CEO, Ed Chignell, says these large-scale projects are critical to driving forward the Predator Free 2050 vision. “These are our pathfinder projects, the proving grounds for innovative new tools and a collaborative partnership approach.

“We’re laying the foundations for the next three decades of Predator Free 2050 operations, working towards achieving our mainland suppression/eradication goals and making inroads towards scientific breakthrough.”

Expressions of interest close on October 13, followed by shortlisting and requests for full proposals. Funding approvals are slated for mid-February 2018.

Parties interested in lodging an expression of interest can find out more here.


Predator Free 2050 Research Strategy Interview

Our Project Manager Dr Dan Tompkins talks to Radio NZ’s Jesse Mulligan and explains whats involved in our Predator Free Research Strategy.

Listen to the full interview.