Predator Free Pēwhairangi Whānui (Bay of Islands) Journey Begins

Predator Free Pēwhairangi Whānui spans across three peninsulas in the Bay of Islands and supports four diverse projects that are working towards making their respective areas predator free. These three peninsulas are Purerua-Mataroa, Russell/Kororāreka, and Rakaumangamanga.

Predator Free Pēwhairangi Whānui is a collaborative project that works with community groups, hapū, and various agencies, including Ngāti Rēhia, Ngāti Torēhina, Ngāti Kuta, Russell Landcare Trust, Kiwi Coast, Manaaki Whenua, Department of Conservation and Northland Regional Council.

The four projects are not only helping the native species in their backyard thrive but are collectively protecting a very special area for Aotearoa, with so many significant places located in Pēwhairangi and Ipipiri (Bay of Islands) areas. This includes the Waitangi Treaty Grounds, New Zealand’s first capital city, the sacred tribal Rakaumangamanga maunga, the place where the waka Mataatua rests, the peninsula with the country’s densest kiwi population, and so many pest free off shore islands in the bay.

If you have any questions, please contact the team at [email protected]

Watch the Predator Free Pēwhairangi Whānui video

Thank you to Project Island Song and the Department of Conservation for providing some of their footage.

Why is this Kaupapa (project) important?

The overall vision for Predator Free Pēwhairangi Whānui is:

Hei whakahoki i te mauri ki te ngahere o te rohe o Pēwhairangi Whānui.
To restore the mauri in the forests of the Bay of Islands.

With everyone’s combined efforts, the project hopes to protect a large number of threatened species, including North Island kākā, long-tailed bat, North Island weka, skinks, geckos, flax snails and kauri snails.

Having these three peninsulas predator free will help alleviate the pressure of incursions on the pest-free islands and there are great opportunities for native birds to safely return to the mainland. Moreover, the projects can progress further inland and create a greater predator free area for the Mid-North.

Predator Free Pēwhairangi Whānui is also helping boost the existing pest control efforts carried out by community and hapū. It is providing more job and upskilling opportunities, as well as helping bring in more of the latest trapping technology, where a lot of those products have been funded by Predator Free 2050 Limited.

How did it begin?

In 2021, a funding application to Predator Free 2050 Limited for a new landscape scale predator eradication project in the Bay of Islands was granted with a new investment of $4 million through Jobs for Nature (Mahi mō te Taiao), along with significant co-funding already invested by the project partners.

With support from Northland Regional Council and other programme partners, Predator Free Pēwhairangi Whānui was established to enable hapū and community to begin the next steps towards eradicating predators from the three main peninsulas within the Bay of Islands:

  • Purerua-Mataroa Peninsula – c7,600ha
    • Pest Free Purerua Mataroa project led by Kiwi Coast with support from Ngāti Torehina
    • Te Ahutai project led by Ngāti Rēhia
  • Russell/Kororāreka Peninsula – c3,000ha
    • Predator Free Russell project led by Russell Landcare Trust
  • Rākaumangamanga – c3,000ha
    • Predator Free Rakaumangamanga project led by Te Rawhiti 3B2 Ahu Whenua Trust

Pest Free Purerua-Mataroa

Kiwi Coast, working with Ngāti Torehina and under their Pest Free Purerua-Mataroa project, is working towards eradicating possums and feral cats, as well as continuing their work of suppressing other predators such as mustelids and rats.

The Pest Free Purerua-Mataroa has already witnessed the success of the hard work put in by their trappers and community as this location has the densest kiwi population in the country. More recently in 2023, the project was able to facilitate a pāteke release due to the existing pest control work.

The Predator Free Pēwhairangi Whānui Kaupapa (project) is helping boost these existing efforts and help their ambitious goal of becoming pest-free.

To learn more, go to:

For any enquiries, email Project Manager Andy Mentor on: [email protected]

Te Ahutai

Ko te ahurei taiao, He tupu hāpai, Kia tau te wa.
Our future for nature requires a unique spiritual and uplifting action.

Te Ahutai is led by Ngāti Rēhia and will be carrying out pest control on Ngāti Rēhia whenua Māori.

A whenua Māori pest management plan has been developed to support the wider Purerua-Mataroa peninsula’s Predator Free 2050 (PF2050) programme and to support the aspirations of Te Runanga o Ngāti Rēhia of the restoration within Ngāti Rēhia whenua.

Each working block will be carried out differently by Te Ahutai with the overall objective of eliminating possums and feral cats from the Purerua Mataroa peninsula. Te Ahutai will also continue the suppression of rats and mustelids on Ngāti Rēhia whenua.

With estuarine systems, wetlands, coastal areas, bush blocks, Ngāti Rēhia whenua has a lot of potential to truly become a safe haven for our native biodiversity to thrive.

For enquiries, email: [email protected]

Predator Free Russell

This project is led by Russell Landcare Trust - a community group which aims to create an eco-sanctuary free of introduced mammalian predators, where indigenous biodiversity can thrive, and additional reintroductions of endangered native birds can occur. The project involves shifting the existing long-term suppression efforts towards achieving zero density of the target predators across the entire peninsula.

Russell Landcare Trust is well known in the community for their Russell Kiwi Protection project, where they have had great success in increasing the kiwi population, due to their pest control efforts.

Predator Free Russell aims to eliminate rats, possums and stoats from the 3,000 hectare peninsula. It is one of the few Predator Free projects across the country that is targeting rats. Russell Landcare Trust is utilising innovative ways to be efficient with their delivery, yet avoid affecting non-target species such as weka, which are prevalent throughout the peninsula.

For enquiries, email: [email protected]

Predator Free Rakaumangamanga

This project is a collaborative hapū driven project led by the Te Rawhiti 3B2 Ahu Whenua Trust with the initial goal of eliminating possums from the Rakaumangamanga peninsula. The Rakaumangamanga peninsula is now also on its way to becoming Predator Free. The peninsula comprises approximately 3,000 hectares, of which around 80% covers diverse native bush. The biodiversity benefits and outcomes are massive here.

Rakaumangamanga is the sacred tribal maunga of Ngāti Kuta and Patukeha hapū and has significant purpose to Ngāpuhi as being one of the ten maunga to form Te Whare Tapū o Ngāpuhi.

The project builds on years of dedicated pest control work that has been undertaken on Rakaumangamanga and surrounding areas and nearby offshore islands.

Another core value and objective of this project is to create sustainable long-term employment opportunities for local people, which is a priority for the project.

This will set the stage for Hei whakahoki I te mauri ki te ngahere and a place for all to enjoy, particularly the future generations of Ngāti Kuta, Patukeha, and the community.

For enquiries, email Project Manager Andre Witehira at: [email protected]