Ti­tahi Bay joins preda­tor-free cam­paign


‘‘Back­yard trap­ping is a huge part of mak­ing New Zealand rat, pos­sum and stoat free.’’

Ti­tahi Bay has joined five other Porirua sub­urbs in con­vert­ing more than 500 res­i­dents into ratkillers.

Con­ser­va­tion Min­is­ter Mag­gie Barry con­grat­u­lated the move, which plays a part in the goal set one year ago to see New Zealand be­come preda­tor-free by 2050.

‘‘Back­yard trap­ping is a huge part of mak­ing New Zealand rat, pos­sum and stoat free,’’ Barry said.

‘‘Yet an­other preda­tor-free sub­urb kick­ing off shows just how much en­thu­si­asm there is from com­mu­ni­ties to get be­hind the idea.’’

Ti­tahi Bay lo­cals fol­low res­i­dents in Plim­mer­ton, Mana/ Cam­borne, Pukerua Bay, Pa­pakowhai and Golden Gate who al­ready have traps in their back­yards.

The Depart­ment of Con­ser­va­tion set up a team of nine Preda­tor Free Com­mu­nity Rangers, backed with a con­testable fund of $300,000, she said.

Their job is to use their ex­per­tise and skills to help com­mu­ni­ties like Ti­tahi Bay scale up ef­forts, com­mit peo­ple to the cause and co-or­di­nate plans.

With sup­port from the depart­ment and Porirua City Coun­cil, com­mu­nity or­gan­is­ers sup­ply traps and ad­vice to their neigh­bours to con­trol pests in their back­yards.

Teacher Dave Suther­land kicked off the Ti­tahi Bay trap­ping group af­ter see­ing the sur­round­ing sub­urbs get on-board.

Pest-Free Plim­mer­ton or­gan­is­ers Heather Evans, Linda Kerk­meester and Lee McLauch­lan started the city’s first pest-free sub­urb a year ago.

Kerk­meester said house­hold­ers were see­ing more fan­tails, sil­vereyes and tui in their back­yards.

‘‘If we can pro­tect the en­tire Porirua har­bour edge from pests, we will see na­tive birds and lizards re­turn­ing to gar­dens, and be­ing safe to spill-over from refuges like Pau­ata­hanui Wildlife Re­serve.’’

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