Visit to Te Urewera Mainland Island Project

We sent two of our members on a trip down to Te Urewera National Park, where they spent three days with local DOC staff,  learning about their trapping regime.

Our Coordinator Natalie Collicott and Chair woman Lettecia Williams were lucky to get the opportunity to head down to Te Urewera National Park for three days in April. Te Urewera Mainland Island is the largest mainland island in New Zealand. With a strong focus on trapping, the project shares many similarities with the work undertaken by Moehau Environment Group.

Possum control is undertaken over 50,000ha using ground-based trappers. Rats and stoats are also targeted in core areas containing high biodiversity values. The project boasts an impressive range of endangered species including kiwi, kokako, kaka, blue duck (whio) and mistletoe.

Te Urewera National Park holds the largest managed population of kokako in New Zealand. The population stood at 8 pairs in 1994 and now exceeds over 112 pairs. During their stay the crew were awoken each morning by kokako, and were lucky enough to witness kokako pair calling from the treetops. The abundance of these rare birds is a true testimony to the success of this project!

The bush is seemingly riddled with traps. Lettecia recalls “It felt like you couldn’t walk more than a couple of metres along a trapline before bumping into a trap, whether it was for rats, stoats or possums.” The project is also part of the national trial for A12 and 24 self-setting ‘Henry’ traps.

For the Moehau Environment Group members the visit was a chance to share knowledge with a similar project, and see what learnings they can bring back. It has left us freshly inspired, and keen to test some new approaches to pest control in our own projects.