High value areas

Why do we need them?

Through our Long-Term Plan 2018–2028 consultation process, Northland communities supported our proposal to significantly increase funding for pest control activities across Northland. But we can’t do all this work on our own, so the concept of “High Value Areas” (HVA) was established.

What are they?

A “High Value Area” is a geographic area of Northland where high biodiversity and recreational values are matched with strong community interest in pest control. Our staff provide advice and funding to help local communities in these areas with their pest control work.

Each “High Value Area” has an on the ground “Working Group” with landowners, members from the local community and representatives from other stakeholders such as local Landcare groups, iwi and agencies. These working groups help to ensure funding is allocated to appropriate pest control activities and priorities within each high value area and is detailed in a high value area pest management plan.

Where are the high value areas?

Currently there are five “High Value Areas” identified for Northland:

  • Bay of Islands
  • Tutukaka
  • Whangārei Heads
  • Mangawhai / Waipu
  • Kai Iwi Lakes

What progress has been made so far?

For each of these areas a Working Group, Terms of Reference and Project Plan are being developed. Whangārei Heads already has a Working Group and Project Plan whilst the others are still in the process of setting these up.

How can I get involved?

If you live in one of these areas and want to get involved in pest control in your local area, please contact our Biosecurity team and we can put you in touch with the right people.

Mid North / Bay of Islands

This area is rich in coastal shrublands that support high kiwi densities and threatened species including pateke (brown teal), kukupa, pupu rangi (kauri snail), weka, kakariki and several species of threatened shore birds.

The council has supported 14 community pest control programmes in this area over the past 12 years, and 25 Environment Fund projects.

Read the Kerikeri Peninsula’s community pest control group's story - Community pest control boosts local bird life.

Whangārei Heads

The Whangārei Heads area is a high value area with unique circumstances. Bream Head and Manaia ridge scenic reserves are ecological gems where visitors can get a real feel for what the nearby offshore islands are like. Species from the neighbouring pest free islands have now returned to the Whangārei Heads area which also boasts one of New Zealand's fastest growing kiwi populations due to the extensive and long running community led pest control efforts over the last 15 years. Many active weed control groups also lead the way in new weed control initiatives and environmental protection.

To date this work has been paid for by a targeted rate set across the Whangārei Heads area in 2015, which has supported pest and weed control. It is now proposed to discontinue the targeted rate and maintain funding to the area through the region-wide pest management rate, as with the other high value pest control areas.


The Tutukaka area supports extensive high value coastal pohutukawa forest with large areas of privately owned native forest and wetlands. These provide habitat for iconic species such as kiwi and pateke (brown teal) and several rare and endangered native plants, while the coastal margins provide nesting habitat for endangered seabirds such as grey faced petrels (Oi) and red-billed gulls.

A high level of community engagement and more than a decade of community-led pest control has seen an increase in the populations of several key species.

The Tutukaka community has been working with the council since 2012, with the council supporting the wider community through Community Pest Control Areas and Environment Fund funding.

Piroa / Brynderwyn (Mangawhai/Waipū)

A recent report recorded three threatened and 11 regionally significant plant species within the wider Mangawhai/Waipū area and 10 threatened and five regionally significant fauna.

The area also hosts a high number of indigenous vascular plants, the native Hochstetter's frog, and longfin eel. Its diverse forest habitat is home to kaka, tomtit, bellbird, New Zealand pigeon and fernbird as well as other more common species. Red-crowned kakariki are occasional visitors from the Hen and Chicken Islands off the Bream Bay coast.

The council has supported more than 20 biosecurity Environment Fund projects since 2010, which have worked to control a range of introduced pests and weeds, and a growing interest from the community to do more.

Kai Iwi Lakes

This area has a fast-recovering ecology including rare and threatened plant species, and water quality that is among the highest of any dune lakes in New Zealand. The lakes provide a much-loved destination for Northlanders and visitors alike.

Who is responsible for managing the lakes?

Lake Kai Iwi, along with neighbouring Lakes Taharoa and Waikare are managed by the Kaipara District Council under the Kai Iwi Lakes (Taharoa Domain) Management Plan. The lake beds of Taharoa and Waikare are owned by Kaipara District Council and Kai Iwi has been returned to mana whenua.

Ten landowners own 11 land parcels within the Lake Kai Iwi catchment, nine landowners own 12 land parcels in the Lake Taharoa catchment and three
landowners own three land parcels in Lake Waikare catchment.

What pest management activity does the council do there?

Northland Regional Council and Kaipara District Council have been working with the community to undertake pest and weed control activities at the Taharoa Domain since 2013. This work includes management of possums, stoats, feral cats and rodents. Pigs, goats and rabbits are controlled as necessary.

Our aim is to reduce the number of these pest animals so that their impact on the natural biodiversity within the catchment is decreased.

How do we monitor what pests are active in the catchment?

Our Biosecurity team use a combination of the following methods to monitor for pest activity:

  • Baited video cameras
  • DOC 200 traps
  • Tracking tunnels
  • Bite-mark Indexing

Need more information?

Get in touch with our Biosecurity team for more information about High Value Areas.

Email: info@nrc.govt.nz | Freephone: 0800 002 004