Proof of concept for mainland possum elimination

The project builds on the success of the Poutiri Ao ō Tāne and Cape to City ecological restoration projects. Tools and techniques developed in these two sister projects have fed directly into the possum elimination of Māhia.

The project is linked with the Council’s Regional Pest Management Plan and builds on strong Iwi, hapū and community partnerships. The project is focused on removing possums from 14,600 hectares of the Māhia Peninsula.

The team have focussed on removing possums from 14,600 hectares of land on Mahia Peninsula. With the help of local innovation and community support, the project is in the final stages (despite challenges posed by the Covid pandemic and Cyclone Gabrielle).

Q and A with the project, March 2024

What is the project most proud of?
We are most proud of the 6,000ha of the peninsula that is possum free, the return of species like kākā (who are being seen visiting the Peninsula), and the recovery of trees, such as Māhoe, now possums are no longer eating them.

What stage is the project at?
We are in the final stages of elimination, focusing on the last remaining individuals.

What’s next?
Once we confirm all possums have been removed from the peninsula, the project will transition into a maintenance phase. This phase will ensure possums can’t re-establish on the peninsula.

What tools have been most useful for your project?
It’s really been a case of needing every tool in the toolbox. Every tool has been useful for a different aspect or context of the project. Tried and trusted techniques (like leghold traps) have been used alongside modern camera traps with great effectiveness.

Banner photo: Natalie de Burgh

Launched July 2, 2018
PF2050Ltd investment $1.62m
Total project investment $4.86m
Funding commitment Six years
Project lead Hawke’s Bay Regional Council
Māori partners Ngāti Kahungungu iwi, Rongomaiwahine iwi, Maungaharuru Tangitū Trust, Ngāti Pāhuwhera Development Trust, Te Kōpere o te iwi o Hineuru Trust, Ngāti Hineuru, Ngāti Pārau Hapū Trust, Waiohiki and Wharerangi Marae.
Collaborators Department of Conservation, Manaaki Whenua/ Landcare Research, Biological Heritage National Science Challenge, Aotearoa Foundation, Biodiversity Hawke’s Bay, Whangawehi Catchment Management Group.
Ambition 14,600ha
Design Possum free Mahia peninsula.