A Howick primary school is doing its best to protect New Zealand’s national icon, the kiwi. On 10 August a bunch of students and parents from Point View School came up to Port Charles to deliver 250 rat boxes the pupils had made.

Point View School’s year 3 and 4 students have been hard at work building more than 250 rat trap boxes for Moehau Environment Group. During August a group of parents and students came to visit us in Port Charles to deliver the boxes. The group stayed at Tangiaro Kiwi Retreat and despite the wet weather got to go kiwi listening and see a kiwi in the wild.

Madison Taylor, 8, says while she has seen a kiwi in a zoo she couldn’t wait to see a wild kiwi and know that she may have helped to protect it. “The kiwi were here before the rats and the rats just came even though we didn’t want them so we are getting rid of the rats and stopping them from eating all the kiwi eggs.”

Moehau Environment Group Coordinator Natalie Collicott says it is heart-warming to see so many children enthused about protecting wildlife. “It really sinks in when people can see the species they are working to protect. Building rat boxes can seem a little bit separated from protecting endangered wildlife but it actually has this direct link. These kids got that.”

These rat boxes, she says, will protect kiwi and other endangered species from the standard rat trap which is set inside. They also keep the traps safe from weather and pig interference. “North Island Robin has been reintroduced into the area and like many native birds they really need low rat numbers before they can successfully breed.” 2400 rat traps are checked regularly in the Port Charles Rat Attack project by Moehau Environment Group trappers.