Part of the local resident’s group Whakamarama Community Inc, Friends of the Blade/Pa Kereru is a community conservation group tasked with running a pest control program covering close to 300 hectares of Kaimai Forest Park. The work is carried out by a growing group of dedicated volunteers who give their time to check and re-bait rat, possum, and stoat traps. Since receiving funding in 2017 to expand from their original area of around 90 hectares, there is plenty of work to do!
The name Friends of the Blade comes from a bulldozer blade that once stood in the clearing at the end of Whakamarama Road, between Omokoroa and Te Puna in the Western Bay of Plenty. The blade has since been stolen, but the name has stuck, and a new blade has recently been added at the car park.
Animal pest control is the main focus of the group, with the aim of creating a pest-free environment in which the native wildlife can flourish. This work is endorsed by BOPRC, DOC, WBOPDC, and local iwi. Trapping started in May 2016 and after 5 years of intensive work 5,587 rats have been eliminated, 2,361 possums, 104 stoats, 6 weasels, 11 ferrets, and 1,150 mice. Also, 6 feral cats, which can devastate native birdlife.
Friends of the Blade now have 23 lines of traps, and the original toxin bait stations were replaced in November 2017 by traps using non-toxic lures. After 5 years spent removing these pests, the bush around The Blade is now alive with the birdsong of many of our wonderful native species. The job now is to keep it that way!
How to Help
Friends of the Blade are very keen to welcome new members to the group of volunteers. They currently work as a group every second Friday morning, but there is flexibility for those who cannot commit to that time.
With continued expansion, they always need new volunteers. Full training is given so if you have a couple of hours to spare every fortnight on a Friday and would like to help please get in touch at [email protected]
Find Out More
Anyone interested in joining Friends of the Blade can see the links below for more information.