Habitat Tuateawa

North Coromandel Aotearoa New Zealand ecological restoration

past projects

Tuateawa Kiwi Care – the origins of Habitat Tuateawa

In the late 1990’s the Department of Conservation (DOC) conducted pest control operations in the Northern Coromandel. However, relations between DOC and many private landowners (including farmers) were not good in those days and were strained to the point that some land owners would not allow DOC access to their properties. Clearly, leaving uncontrolled areas allowed for the possibility for islands of pests to remain that could lead to invasion of treated areas later. In an effort to rebuild relations between DOC and landowners two local residents, Chris Lux and Kaye Rabarts, approached DOC in 1997 with an invitation for DOC to extend its pest control operations to adjoining land at Tuateawa. DOC agreed and after a successful initial trial cooperation grew, leading to the establishment of the Tuateawa Kiwi Care group. The first group meeting was held in June 1999, consisting of 23 local residents/land owners and representatives from DOC, Environment Waikato, and the Whitianga Kiwi Recovery Programme. Early efforts involved developing and upgrading a network of tracks and ‘ring-fencing’ the Tuateawa area with 85 bait stations, later nearly doubling in numbers to cover a wider area. Because ¾ of the land under treatment belonged to a wide range of land owners the Tuateawa Kiwi Care group placed a lot of emphasis on cooperation and consensus building so that ongoing access could be maintained. Bait stations targeted rats and the anticoagulant brodifacoum (tradename Pestoff) was used to reduce numbers. Group members recall how startled they were at the rapid rates that baits vanished during the first few years, attesting to the large numbers of rats present in the area. The Tuateawa Kiwi Care group represented a successful start to the control of pests in the local area through a collaborative effort between locals and government agencies –  a success that prompted the group to take on broader environmental issues that resulted in the group developing into today’s Habitat Tuateawa.  (historical notes supplied by Chris Lux)

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