There are currently two demonstration areas: (1) in the Bay of Islands; and (2) on the Okahukura Peninsula on the Kaipara Harbour.
Bay of Islands: Integrated predator control is already in place (to a large extent) over the 16,000 hectares of the Bay of Islands project area. The urban areas of Russell Township and Te Tii Village will be added to this project area to demonstrate the premise that 'pest-free' by definition must include the removal of rats from areas of human habitation in order for long-term success to be possible.
Pest management under this project will be extended to the area east of State Highway 10 south of Matauri Bay Road and East of Sommerville Road Tahoranui/Takou/Waiaua catchments, and also to Matauri Bay and Wainui). This includes the peninsulas in the Bay of Islands, Kerikeri (3,500ha) and Purerua (4,000ha), plus approximately 6,000 ha of Takou Bay and Waiaua Bay. This project is managed by the NZ Kiwi Foundation and Takou Were-te-Mokai.
Okahukura Peninsula: This demonstration area (10,000 ha) is located in Rodney District west of Wellsford. Okahukura has Tapora Landcare Group, with activity by the ARC at the newly-gifted Atiu Creek Farm (835 ha), and DOC (c,1000 ha) on the sand islands of the Kaipara Harbour on the western end of the peninsular. It also includes most of the riparian zone of the peninsular as well as Burma Road and some smaller reserves. The remainder is private farm and forestry land, and contains the settlements of Tapora and Lands End.
Research papers have been commissioned by various researchers; together, these research papers will indicate the viability of: (a) eradicating all mammalian pests north of Auckland, and (b) creating a pest-free zone that provides a suitable environment for the reintroduction and translocation of native species. Drafts of the research papers are to be completed by the end of April 2008.
Papers have been commissioned on the following topics:
While the scale of the proposed pest-free area is huge, mammal control systems required to implement such a project are already available. What we would like to determine are the costs and benefits, possible methods of implementation, and structural requirements of such a project.
Governance is a key issue in this explorative project. Who owns or administers land and who holds and allocates funding are central questions to the project. Land has a range of ownership and leasehold arrangements that can determine equity and social justice systems, as well as differentiate legal allocations and appropriation (i.e. such as between central government and territorial authorities, organizations, NGOs, trusts, foundations, companies and other landholders). This project seeks to determine what is: (a) possible within the current system; and, (b) what might be achieved with some changes to how projects are structured and funded.
These various research papers will culminate in a report that comprehensively examines the viability of a pest-free zone north of Auckland. The report will be reviewed by experts in the field, and will be presented to relevant stakeholders in a workshop. Key findings of the report will be released to the press to stimulate discussion and debate regarding the creation of an expansive pest-free zone on the isthmus north of Auckland.
The next stage for community-based pest management projects is toward translocation projects involving our avifauna. Currently, NZ Kiwi Foundation has one project underway: North Island robin translocations from Mangatutu Block (Otorohanga) to Paroa Bay on the Russell Peninsula (an area of approximately 3,000ha). The NZ Kiwi Foundation is working with the Russell Landcare Group, and includes activities such as rat and stoat monitoring. The lack of available and qualified staff for the capture of North Island robins at Rangitoto meant that parts of the project were postponed until Autumn 2008. Indeed, the shortage of experts is a reflection of the high demand for these people for other translocation projects.
Part of this is a stocktake of what bait/toxins and traps are currently being used, what animals controlled, what amounts and how much this is costing community agencies. This is the first inventory of its kind that is being done in New Zealand.
This information will be used to get an increased understanding of pest management in the Northland area. This is in the hope that this knowledge can contribute to improved strategies within pest management to conserve and protect biodiversity from Auckland to Northland, and for pest management efforts to be more effective and efficient with resources.
If you represent a community group that manages pest on land from Auckland to the top of the North Island, we would like to hear from you!
Download this QUESTIONNAIRE that asks questions around toxins and traps being used by your organisation. Every group that participates will receive a $40 petrol voucher in return for contributing to this exciting research.
If you would like to know more about this project, please contact the convener of the NZ Kiwi Foundation, Greg Blunden. Email: Greg@KiwiFoundation.org.NZ or Cellphone: 021 710 441. To find out more about the NZ Kiwi Foundation, please visit our website. KiwiFoundation.org.NZ