Native wildlife residing in Parihaka Reserve – Whangārei’s iconic landmark – will be better protected over the next decade thanks to new funding.
The Whangārei District Council has allocated funding for the next ten years to expand on existing predator control efforts and help preserve and protect the reserve’s native wildlife.
The funding will be managed through Tiakina Whangārei, a community-led initiative encouraging urban predator control to support New Zealand’s goal of becoming predator free by 2050.
Tiakina Whangārei Coordinator, Dr Dai Morgan, says the funding is an opportunity to help the thousands of locals who enjoy Parihaka every week to better connect with, and care for, the reserve’s native wildlife.
“Although many locals walk the tracks on the Parihaka Reserve – sometimes daily – they could be unaware of the many introduced mammalian predators like rats, possums and stoats that threaten our native population of flora and fauna.
“As well as expanding on the existing predator control efforts of our amazing local Landcare groups, this funding will help us better understand the relationship other people have to this amazing taonga, so we can work to strengthen that connection.”
As a first step, an online survey is underway to find out how people are using the reserve and what’s important to them. The survey is open to both residents and visitors to the area as Parihaka is also a popular tourist attraction.
“This survey will better inform the future management plan of the Parihaka Reserve and how we can best support all the native wildlife that resides in this urban sanctuary,” says Dr Morgan.
The funding will build on the long-term predator control efforts of the established Parihaka Community Landcare Group, which has contributed more than 500 hours of volunteer work each year since 2016. This work has seen the removal of thousands of rats and possums, which has resulted in these species being maintained at relatively low abundances over the 100 hectares that the group works (the Parihaka Reserve is just under 400 hectares).
The group has also carried out pest management surveys and also targeted weed species in the area.
Additionally, there is more funding allocated as part of the wider Predator Free Whangārei project coordinated by the Northland Regional Council, focusing solely on stoat control. This has allowed a dedicated stoat trapper to set up and maintain stoat traps across the existing Parihaka Reserve trapping network, as well as expanding this trapping area.
The Parihaka Reserve is easy for local Whangārei residents to be proud of. Standing 241 metres above sea level, Parihaka is one of Whangārei’s most iconic landmarks and a must-do for visitors and travellers to the city of Whangārei.
The Reserve is reputedly the largest pā site in New Zealand and is a two-time Green Flag Award Winner, an international award rewarding the best parks and green spaces. At the time, the Reserves’ focus on nature conservation and sustainable practices was praised.