Restoring nature and sustaining community – from the mountains to the sea.

The $45m Predator Free South Westland project aims to eliminate possums, rats and stoats from a 100,000 hectare area bounded by the Whataroa and Waiau (Waiho) Rivers, the Southern Alps and Tasman Sea over five years.

The area includes bush, rural land and the townships of Whataroa, Okarito and Franz Josef and includes habitat for New Zealand’s rarest kiwi – the rowi – along with many other rare and threatened species, including kōtuku (white heron), kea, and the recently rediscovered Ōkārito gecko.

The project builds on Zero Invasive Predators’ (ZIP) successful removal of predators from the 12,000 hectares Perth River Valley which borders the new project area.

The project will benefit farmers and the economy by helping eliminate the threat of bovine tuberculosis and is expected to bring an end to the ongoing widespread use of aerial 1080 to control predators within the region.

Up to 50 jobs are expected to be generated over the five years of the project, providing long-term career pathways for locals and young people. Community engagement has been occurring for some months and support for the project is strong, with various activities occurring including, community events, one on one contact with landowners, and engagement with local Runanga including having a seat at the governance level.

The first operations commenced in early 2022.

Launched March 11, 2021
PF2050Ltd investment $8.5m
Total project investment $45m
Funding commitment 5 years
Project lead Predator Free South Westland Ltd
Māori partners Te Rūnanga o Makaawhio
Collaborators The people of South Westland, Jobs for Nature, Department of Conservation, OSPRI and the NEXT Foundation.
Ambition Removal of rats, stoats and possums from 100,000ha.
Design Aerial toxin will be used in the large forested areas for the initial predator knock-down. This will be followed up by ground based control including trapping, hunting, and localised bait stations.