Predator Free Whangārei is a collaborative five year project that builds on 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 community groups and agencies working together on predator control. After initial conversations with Predator Free 2050 Ltd in 2018 and many months of discussion and development, a funding application to Predator Free 2050 Ltd was approved earlier this year.
This application was made possible by the hundreds of community volunteers who have donated thousands of hours to predator control in the district, to get us where we are today. Project partners also include Northland Regional Council, Department of Conservation, Kiwi Coast and Whangārei District Council.
The project focuses on a possum eradication project at Whangārei Heads as the first step in a substantial and sustained predator control programme across the whole Whangārei District over the next five years.
Hon Shane Jones, Minister of Regional Economic Development, and Hon Eugenie Sage, Minister of Conservation visited Whangārei earlier this month to celebrate and acknowledge the funding received from the Provincial Growth Fund and Predator Free 2050 Ltd. They were joined at Barge Park in Whangārei by project partners, iwi/hapū and community groups in celebrating this exciting milestone.
For this project to succeed, it will need the support of many – land owners, iwi/hapū, landcare groups, conservation groups, communities, schools, whānau, businesses and more. This is an opportunity to engage our wider communities in the importance of this work by providing invaluable employment and education opportunities. This is also 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.
This project is about imagining what is possible for our district’s flora and fauna when we remove the devastating effects of possums, rats and mustelids.
Last month a positive and productive workshop was held with 25 representatives from Whangārei Heads landcare groups, to start imagining what possum eradication in Whangārei Heads could look like and exploring how to connect with and engage the wider community in this project. Those at the workshop also helped to formulate key questions to be answered at a community open day being held at McLeod Bay Hall on Sunday 2nd August from 10am to 3pm.
Everyone in the wider Whangārei Heads area is invited to come along to the open day, to learn more about Predator Free Whangārei, including project goals and objectives, how the project will be staged over the next five years and maps of key areas. We look forward to seeing you there!
For more information about Predator Free Whangārei, visit www.nrc.govt.nz/pfwhangarei