Kanohi ki te kanohi – Rob visits the projects

September 23, 2022 2:53 pm

Predator Free Whangarei, Kaipara and Pēwhairangi Whānui

Predator Free 2050 Limited (PF2050 Limited) CEO Rob Forlong began his tour of our funded projects with a trip to Northland visiting Whangārei, Pēwhairangi Whānui (Bay of Islands) and Pest Free Kaipara Harbour.

Rob was welcomed by the Whangārei team with a mihi whakatau at their workshop at Whangārei Heads where Rob learned about the project and progress, including looking at their GIS/data system. Rob spent the evening at a local community meeting where he and Project Support Manager Melissa Brignall-Theyer presented the national picture of Predator Free projects.

The next day Rob travelled with Melissa to Purerua Peninsula for a Predator Free Pēwhairangi Whānui (Bay of Islands) hui where project stakeholders from each peninsula (Purerua, Russell, Rakaumangamanga), and DOC, came together. Rob was again welcomed with a mihi whakatau and there were presentations from a number of stakeholders who wish to be involved in the project.

Capital Kiwi
The next stop for Rob was a visit to Capital Kiwi in Wellington. The project visit was an opportunity to look at progress made to eliminate stoats, and discuss issues and challenges the project is managing.

Although the project area is not far from central Wellington, Rob was able to experience the strong winds and exposed hills that make it a challenging and difficult environment to work in. The project is tracking well to achieve elimination of stoats, and as a result, the team are beginning to plan the release of kiwi into the project area.

Predator Free Wellington
Rob also had the chance to visit Predator Free Wellington, a project that has eliminated weasels, and Norway rats from the Miramar Peninsula, and they have successfully defended the peninsula from re-establishment of any invaders. The project is making excellent progress to eliminate the last few ship rats using a ground-based methodology.

The information that the project is gaining will be crucial in developing the national implementation plan.

The project’s engagement with the community is extremely impressive. The project has established a high level of trust and confidence of the community and households that enables the project to operate where they need to.

The project’s precision and discipline and its ability to be agile and adaptive are key to its success, which can be seen in the soaring bird numbers on peninsula.

Pest Free Banks Peninsula
The project team took Rob and the members of the PF2050 Limited Board out to Kaitorete Spit, which runs south from Banks Peninsula, between Te Waihora (Lake Ellesmere) and the Pacific Ocean. Land ownership on this long thin strip of land is a mixture of farmland, scientific reserve, council, Crown and privately-owned, and it is also the first place Pest Free Banks Peninsula have started their operations, due to being invited by landowners.

The team got to hear about the work and wide range of traps needed to eradicate six target species, and also heard about the Tāwhaki joint venture, a unique partnership between two rūnunga and the Crown to manage 1000 hectares of land on the Spit and support mana whenua aspirations for such a special area.

Towards Predator Free Taranaki
The beautiful header image of this pānui makes up part of this project area. In Taranaki, Rob and PF2050 Limited Landscape Director Brett Butland visited various aspects of the project including Kaitake, farmland and an urban school-based sub-project. A large proportion of the Kaitake has had no consistent possum population for the last 14 months and the team enjoyed hearing about the wider community and landowner support for the project and the work the project is doing with land managers and landowners to ensure the success of the project.

Te Korowai o Waiheke
On Waiheke, Rob and Brett discussed the stoat eradication project and noted their progress. Recent DNA and other data analysis confirms that the project is down to the final handful of animals, and that Waiheke stoats are entirely inbred, which also gives huge confidence that reinvasion risks are very low.

Rob and Brett got to see Waiheke’s most successful trap; The Company is beginning to capture data for each of the projects’ most successful devices to understand if there are any consistent parameters about trap success, and if so, what they are. This will be valuable information to inform the national implementation plan.

They also met with the rat pilot field teams and heard about removing rats from complex urban environments, testing to see if rats can be removed with traps alone, and they saw the innovative new mangrove bait station design that is able to move with the changing tides. The trials are progressing really well and are tracked and publicly available in real time on the Te Korowai website.

Predator Free South Westland

Rob accompanied Brett and Nathan (PF2050 Limited Project Support Manager) to the stunning west coast of the South Island to visit the Predator Free South Westland Project.

Hosted by Stephen Hall (PFSW) and Al Bramley from Zero Invasive Predators (ZIP), Rob and Nathan had the opportunity to flyover the project area by helicopter to get a feel for the scale of both the back country and coastal area.

The helicopter journey included landing at Butler Junction Hut to see technology being used which includes the Back Country Camera which has been funded through PF2050 Limited Product to Projects initiative. The camera is a simple but elegant design solution, using on-board A.I. for real time identification and notification of predators that are detected.

The ZIP team also gave an overview of the work they are delivering with Te Manahuna Aoraki Project including a site visit for the team.

Rob and the team are really looking forward to continuing to meet all of the PF2050 Limited funded projects in the future, kanohi ki te kanohi.

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