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Women and pest management: know how, can do - 31 August 2008

June Salt setting a possum trap

More than 30 women from all over Northland came to Aroha Island, Kerikeri, on Sunday to learn the tricks of trapping and poisoning pests from some of the best in the trade.

Experienced pest managers from the NZ Kiwi Foundation, the BNZ Save the Kiwi, QEII National Trust and NZ Landcare Trust took the women through their pest management paces.

Over five intensive hours the women, aged from teenagers to the elderly, learned where and how to set bait and traps and, just before lunch, how to recognise stoat droppings from those of rats and possums.

Maike Barteldres from Whangarei Heads was typical. She wants to learn how to kill pests in order to protect kiwi.

“Sue Bell from DoC took me out last year to check on some kiwi chicks and that was amazing and now I want to something to save them.”

For Kath Jennings of Kerikeri it is about helping the kiwi on her own four acres of native bush.

“I’ve been using Timms traps, but for the last two seasons I’ve found a dead baby kiwi killed, I think, by stoats. So it’s time to up the trapping programme.

“By the end of the day I think I’ll be pretty confident with the traps.”

There were five kinds of traps that the women were taught to master. Timms traps, Tunnel traps, DOC 200s, Fenn traps and SA cat traps. For some they were terrifying in the beginning.

“There must be another way,” said one, but after having a go added: “I’d never had the confidence to try this before, I was too scared of losing my fingers.”

A well-placed, appropriately-baited and well-set trap can make a huge difference to the health and survival rates of native birds, says Dr Greg Blunden, convenor of the NZ Kiwi Foundation. Today was about showing women who have some experience a few of the tricks such as how to recognise pest tracks and what tastes and smells attract them.

“This is the first time we’ve run a women-only workshop and it has been great. The women have not only learned from us but have been exchanging tips learned from their own experience – great way to learn.”

More workshops are planned. For information and to register an interest contact Dr Greg Blunden on 09 407 1119, 021 710 441 or     

To editors: for more information contact Helen Sissons on 0210 763270  

Women’s training day on pest management

Getting rid of pests such as rats, stoats and possums is no longer the preserve of men.

Women are just as good at laying poison and setting traps, says Dr Greg Blunden of the NZ Kiwi Foundation, providing they have the know-how.

The Foundation is for the first time running a free workshop for women to share their experience of pest management, and to learn methods and processes to help manage their land.  

Before doing any pest control, you have to have a plan says Dr Blunden.

“Technically and practically, women are able to trap and poison using the full range of techniques that are available. This workshop will help women who have some experience of pest management, but would like to increase their knowledge and build their confidence.”

The first part of the workshop is about organising your place to control animal pests, and three practical examples will be discussed.  

The second part is to know where to put your traps and/or bait stations – how do pest animals think, what places do they favour, what tastes and smells attract them?

The third phase of this workshop is hands-on -  the opportunity to handle and use traps and toxins under the guidance of experienced pest managers: DOC200 traps, Fenn traps, SA traps, Tunnel traps, Timms traps, dog and pig live capture traps, bait stations, etc.

Whilst the emphasis is on pest management in kiwi areas, the techniques are applicable everywhere.

The NZ Kiwi Foundation and QEII National Trust invite women from Northland to come to Aroha Island in Kerikeri on Sunday 31st August.  There are only 35 places available and you must RSVP to Greg Blunden on 09 407 1119, 021 710 441 or

There is no cost for the workshop and refreshments and lunch will be provided.

The workshop is for women who are not complete novices. We intend to run a workshop for less experienced people in the future – depending on the response to this workshop. Please register your interest if you think that you are in this category. 

Keep our kiwi areas pest free and pet free. Pest free + pet free = kiwi are free

To editors: for more information contact Helen Sissons - 021 407 397 -


Setting-up your land for integrated pest management

When:    Sunday 31st August, 2008

Start:      10.00 a.m. (tea, coffee, etc, from 9.30)

Finish:     3.00 p.m.

Where:    Aroha Island Ecological Centre, Rangitane Road, Kerikeri

After morning tea – combined session

After lunch: Learning bases (5 * 15 minutes repeats, 2 minutes between)


Funding options: BNZ Save the Kiwi, QEII National Trust, NZ Landcare Trust

Facilitators and instructors: Gay Blunden, Greg Blunden, Terry Higginson, Terry Johnson, Kris Khaine, Helen Moodie, Wendy Sporle,

Please RSVP to Greg Blunden  09 407 1119   021 710 441

Numbers are limited to 35 women

NB: This event will be on regardless of the weather

Thanks to funding support from the Biodiversity Advice Fund