The last rat & a community on a mission

December 24, 2021 10:01 am

A project with unprecedented community backing, Predator Free Wellington plans to be Aotearoa’s first predator-free city. This will be no easy feat and requires a multi-phased approach given the expanse of urban area and a large population. An intense eradication grid is now set up over the entire Miramar Peninsula and with tens of thousands of traps in backyards all accross the city, what was once a small team is now a team of thousands with the community united in achieving a common kaupapa.

Community buy-in doesn’t come easy and requires a foundation of trust, open lines of communication, and creative and unique ways of interacting with diverse groups of people. To ensure the PF2050 messaging resonated with all residents of Miramar the project came up with some innovative ideas to create engagement, including Chewcard Tuesday, the creation of a predator-free mural at the entrance to Miramar, and partnering with events like the Miramarvellous laneway festival and the urban art collaboration. A biannual city-wide survey is also completed to better understand the views and buy-in to the mission and to address concerns or questions people may have.

The team has worked tirelessly to build trust and genuine connections including kanohi ki te kanohi (face to face) and house by house visits to find out what is important to people and how eradication of pests could positively impact households in various ways outside of just the biosecurity outcomes, such as the removal of rats from houses and the prevention of reinvasions.

Now, thanks to the hard mahi of the team and their community, weasels, and Norway rats are a thing of the past for Miramar and the last few Ship rats are on the run, so it’s on to phase 2 for the team. The project will spread the net more widely to include a further 19 suburbs – from Kilbirnie to Ōwhiro Bay and through to the CBD. The area is home to approximately 60,000 people, but if Miramar is anything to go by, Wellingtonians will be sure to get behind this already successful project.

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