Predator Free Regional Hui 2023

Press release

Friday 23 June

Sell-out event ignites Bay community in predator free mission

TAURANGA – A sell out event in Tauranga proves that the Bay of Plenty is serious about protecting native wildlife.

The first ever predator free regional hui, hosted by Bay Conservation Alliance and the Predator Free New Zealand Trust on Thursday, saw more than 100 people gather to learn and share best practice for ridding the region of introduced predators like rats, stoats and possums. Conservation group representatives came from all over the wider Bay region, from Waihī to Maketū.

The 100-plus crowd was attracted by the line up of expert speakers, Bay Conservation Alliance chief executive Michelle Elborn said.

“Combining national and regional skills and resources meant we were able to develop a programme that had huge appeal, selling out in days.”

Insight from speakers and chats over cups of tea would help “supercharge” the region’s introduced predator control activity, equipping participants with the tools and knowledge needed to make a meaningful impact in their own conservation initiatives.

“It’s humbling to see the incredible community passion for restoring native biodiversity here in the Bay of Plenty. We know it’s no small task, but what is really clear is that working together will get us much closer to the goal,” Michelle said.

Graeme Atkins from Raukūmara Pae Maunga Restoration Project spoke about protecting taonga species from a te Ao Māori view. He said in the decades he’s been working in the Raukūmara forest, predators have gone from rare, to common to “over-running the ngāhere.”

“Predators have pushed our forest to the brink of collapse. There’s no point saving the kiwi if it has nowhere to live. That’s why all our landscape protection values are so important: protecting the canopy, slowing the runoff of water during storms, and everything else. 

“But most importantly, we have to bring the whole community along with us. All of this rests on relationships. You can kill all the rats and possums on conservation land you like, but predator free 2050 is not going to happen if you don’t bring mana whenua along. If we succeed, the nation succeeds.”

Predator Free New Zealand Trust chief executive Jessi Morgan said getting everyone in the same room to share ideas, emerging technologies, mistakes and achievements was immensely valuable.

“We set this up for seasoned predator free groups to connect and enhance their existing efforts.

“It gives them  a chance to see how the Bay fits into the national picture of predator control. As a country we set this ambitious target to achieve predator free status by 2050 and community groups will  play a vital role. They will not only engage communities and gain their support but also play a crucial role in minimising predator populations,” Jessi said.

Contact [email protected] for more information

About Bay Conservation Alliance

A community initiative created to support and grow the capability and impact of our members and projects to restore and preserve natural ecosystems and indigenous biodiversity.

About Predator Free New Zealand Trust

A national charitable trust that inspires and enables everyone to get involved in the predator free movement to allow native wildlife to thrive.

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