Eugenie Sage visits Mahia : media release

Community efforts to make Mahia predator free take another step forward

The four-year project aimed at removing possums, and controlling mustelids and feral cats from Mahia Peninsula has been named “Whakatipu Mahia – Predator Free Mahia” at a community meeting yesterday.

Iwi, community, central and local government gathered at Tuahuru marae to discuss progress on a landscape scale project aimed at enhancing biodiversity on the peninsula alongside sustainable socio-economic outcomes.

In July, Hawke’s Bay Regional Council and Predator Free 2050 Ltd launched a project aimed at creating a Predator Free Hawke’s Bay. The first phase of the $4.86 million project will focus on removing possums from 14,500 hectares of land on Mahia Peninsula within four years, as an initial step towards ridding the region of predators.  It focuses strongly on innnovation and eradication within the farmland predator control context said Rongomaiwahine Chairperson Moana Rongo.

“It is a pleasure to share our community vision of a restored Mahia. The vision is embodied in the name ‘Whakatipu’ meaning growth or re-birth,” Moana said.

Conservation Minister Eugenie Sage also attended the community meeting during a visit to the East Coast region.

“It takes a village to raise a child and it takes a community to save our wildlife. That’s certainly the case in Mahia where iwi and hapu, community members, central government and local councils have all come together to work make this special place a haven for our native plants and wildlife,” said Conservation Minister Eugenie Sage.

“I am impressed by the energy and passion that so many people here have for the project and I will watch its development with great interest,” Minister Sage said.

Following the community meeting the Minister was escorted on a trip to Onenui Station to showcase the leadership role landowners play in landscape-scale conservation through Ngā Whenua Rāhui kawenata agreements (conservation covenant for Māori landowners). Onenui Station is a significant land block within the Mahia landscape, the third largest tract of remaining forest on the Mahia Peninsula and the largest on the peninsula’s south-eastern coast.

 Charles Barrie, Department of Conservation

 

Mahia pest free launch

 

In early July, an amazing celebration was held in Napier to celebrate the new PF2050 project that will help remove predators from Mahia Peninsula.

Well done to Campbell Leckie and his team.

Press release :

Bold Predator Free project launched in Hawke’s Bay

A project aimed at creating a Predator Free Hawke’s Bay has been launched in Napier tonight (5pm Monday 2 July 2018) with the announcement of a $1.6 million kick-start in funding from the Government.Hawke’s Bay is the latest region to get behind the country’s goal to become Predator-Free by 2050.The first phase of the $4.86 million project will focus on removing possums from 14,500 hectares of land on Mahia Peninsula within four years, as an initial step towards ridding the region of predators.The knowledge gained in Mahia will be used to develop a low-cost farmland control and eradication model applicable to other areas of the region and New Zealand.Hawke’s Bay Regional Council is investing $1.17 million in the project and Chairman Rex Graham says eradicating possums from Hawke’s Bay is both ambitious and realistic.“We believe we can reduce the cost of rural predator control by more than 50 percent through smart technology and project design, and with landowners’ help I’m confident we can remove them from our landscapes,” says Mr Graham.Hawke’s Bay Regional Council Chief Executive James Palmer says the project fits with the Council’s overarching goal of improving the region’s natural ecosystems and biodiversity and is reflected in the council’s Long-Term Plan and proposed Regional Pest Management Plan.“The Regional Council is committed to building strong partnerships and this project is all about working alongside iwi, local and national organisations and the Government to achieve common goals,” says Mr Palmer.The project builds on the success of the Cape to City and Poutiri Ao ō Tāne projects, which have so far delivered more than 34 thousand hectares of innovative farmland control of possums, mustelids and wild cats, including wireless trap monitoring. An important element of these projects is the strong relationships that have been built with local iwi, as well as hundreds of landowners, schoolchildren and teachers.Predator Free 2050 Limited Chief Executive Ed Chignell says predator control at Cape Sanctuary and the Maungaharuru range show how native seabirds, threatened land birds and unique wildlife like tuatara can return to the region once predators are removed.“This project gets us started on the East Coast and enables new innovation and approaches that will be essential for our national predator free goal,” says Mr Chignell. Predator Free 2050 Limited was created in 2016 to enable co-funding arrangements with councils, philanthropists, businesses and other agencies for large landscape predator control and eradication projects and for breakthrough science.The Predator Free Hawke’s Bay project is also receiving funding from Aotearoa Foundation, Manaaki Whenua/ Landcare Research, Department of Conservation, OMV NZ Ltd, Maungaharuru Tangitū, Zero Invasive Predators and farmers.Last month Predator Free 2050 Limited announced funding for a predator-free project in Taranaki and the company expects to make further funding announcements in other parts of New Zealand over coming months.

Enviro school workshop

The last day of May was the day for our workshop previously planned for earlier in the term and related to astronomy. However to fit with the current programme we shifted the focus to Science and technology. Juniors made kites and we related this to traditional use of kites. Seniors were interested in inventions – A group of students realised that a sustainable way to cook without power is with a homemade solar oven. They created one and warmed some food despite the cloudy winter weather. Sunny Whangawehi is a great place to use solar ovens for kai.

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The Cape to City team visits Whangawehi

Wendy and Nathalie from HBRC came to have a look at the catchment. They work for the Cape to City project and were interested to see how we were carrying out our pest control work. Pat drove them to the whare, the weather was terrible but they enjoyed their time there and got to see the project for themselves.  Pat also took Wendy and Nathalie to Okepuha Station where the next generation of environmental warriors are growing. Eva Coop was proud to show us her rifle…and apparently she doesn’t like cats !

A big thank you to Pat and Sue, Richard and Hannah (and Eva) for making themselves available.

We may see Wendy and Nathalie a bit more if the Mahia Pest free project progresses.

 

Whakaki Lake Trustees take a tour of the Whangawehi

On Saturday the 28th of April 2018, the Whangawehi Catchment Management Group (WCMG) offered a guided tour to three Whakaki Lake Trustees-Paihau Solomon, Willy Kahukura and Archie Waikawa.  Aurthur Bowen (Cultural Health Index Coordinator) and Nic Caviale (Project Co-ordinator) showed the representatives a number of key areas of the project starting from the Whangawehi bridge all the way up to Okepuha Station.

On the way they stopped at the Whare on Taharoa where the group stopped to enjoy a bite to eat.  This site offers a superb view of the valley and is surrounded by a collection of flax for weaving.  We exchanged a lot of ideas, dreams and aspirations for the future.

The last stop was on Okepuha Station, award winners at the Balance Environmental Awards.  The WLT group appreciated the recent plantings and the fencing standard.  On behalf of the WCMG we thank you for taking the time to visit our project.  It was great to see there enthusiasm and invigoration.  We hope we inspired them by showing what working together can achieve.  We wish them all the best.

 

 

Mahia Pest Free vision received well by the community.

On Saturday the 14th of April, Campbell Leckie from HBRC came to Tuahuru Marae to talk to the Mahia Community about a Mahia Pest free vision.

In his presentation Campbell highlighted the fact that biodiversity is actually in decline and that pest control and habitat restoration are key elements in reversing this trend. Campbell gave an explanation on how this could achieved if the community decided to embrace a Mahia Pest Free vision.

He suggested that possums could be eradicated in the first phase (farmers are already investing money) and thereafter the investment could be transferred to multiple animal pest species control programme including (feral cats, stoats, ferrets, rats, hedgehogs).

If the project goes ahead, the Peninsula should observe a significant recovery in biodiversity including birds, trees, lizards and invertebrates in general. It would also reduce the risk of toxoplasmosis for sheep farmers and create unique opportunities for economic development.

Campbell explained that a wide range of funders would be needed to achieve this vision. Hawkes Bay Regional Council has committed $200,000 to kick start the journey with there initial target would be possums.  OMV NZ Ltd are interested in being joint partners and potentially funding up to $200,000 and other partners will join over time.

OMV represented by Tim and Eva, made a presentation about their company that operates globally.  OMV has been working in New Zealand since 1999 in oil and gas exploration, production and development. OMV New Zealand Ltd is a NZ-registered company, with approximately 90 staff in Wellington and New Plymouth. OMV NZ developed and operates the offshore Taranaki Maari Field (commissioned 2009). OMV is awaiting regulatory approval to take over the Shell-operated Maui and Pohokuragas fields, also in Taranaki. OMV is also operator of 7 exploration permits in the Taranaki, East Coast and Great South basins.

Responsible business behaviour is crucial to OMV hence the reason why they have been involved with so many community lead projects.

The presentation went very well and the general feedback was really positive.