Predator Free Whangārei is a collaborative five year project that builds on over 20 years of dedicated and successful community predator control in the Whangārei area.
The seed for this project was planted over two years ago, with a conversation between local community groups and agencies working together on predator control. After initial conversations with Predator Free 2050 Limited (PF2050 Ltd) in 2018 and many months of discussion and development, a funding application was submitted by Northland Regional Council on behalf of the community to PF2050 Ltd last year for the Whangārei area.
This application was made possible by the hundreds of community volunteers that contribute towards predator control in the district by donating thousands of hours of labour and securing funding from multiple sources- this represented the community contribution to the project. Equally, the application had the support of Northland Regional Council, Department of Conservation, Whangarei District Council and Kiwi Coast.
Over the next five years the project aims to eradicate possums from the Whangārei Heads peninsula. Additional aims include building upon existing predator control programmes across the Whangārei District, focusing on urban and landscape scale predator control targeting rats, mustelids and possums.
We are delighted to share that the funding application has been successful, and we can now look forward to what is possible with additional funding to bolster and strengthen existing predator control efforts across the district. For this project to succeed, it will need the support of many - land owners, iwi/hapu, Landcare groups, conservation groups, communities, schools, whānau, businesses and more.
This project is about imagining what is possible for our district’s flora and fauna when we remove the devastating effects of possums, mustelids and rats. This is an opportunity to engage our wider communities in the importance of this work by providing invaluable employment and education opportunities. It will also provide an opportunity to test and develop leading edge innovation for predator control, as we work towards creating one of New Zealand’s first mainland possum-free zones.
The next steps are critical. We have the funding secured and now it is time to sit down with the community to determine how we make the most of this opportunity. We know the direction we need to travel, but how we get there is up to our communities.
Video - "Towards a Predator Free New Zealand"
Watch the "Towards a Predator Free New Zealand" video below, from the Department of Conversation's YouTube channel.