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August 2020 Issue
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Predator-free push for Whangarei Heads

Whangarei Heads may soon be Northland’s first predator free area. Photo: Matthew Cattin

Whangarei Heads is one step closer to becoming predator-free, with a $6 million boost of government funding.

The funding, through Predator Free 2050, is expected to create a dozen jobs and eradicate possums over a 10,000ha area around Bream Head.

Further pest control will extend north to Pataua and west past Whangarei City.

Kiwi Coast coordinator Ngaire Sullivan is rapt to see hardworking community conservation groups receive support.

“We’ve been doing things by the smell of an oily rag for a couple of decades – now we can get serious,” she said. “Our forests deserve better than the battle to the death our birds have every night.”

Sullivan said community groups and landowners have put in thousands of hours of unpaid predator control to protect the whenua, and the funding is validation for the hard work.

“We’ve really led the way for how you do community-lead conservation where people are living, and kiwi are seen as part of the community,” she said.

Northland Regional Council biosecurity manager Kane McElrea said Whangarei Heads was chosen for its defendability and its proactive community conservation groups.

“There is a long history of community landcare groups working around kiwi protection, so the foundations have been laid enabling us to come in and support,” he said.

McElrea encourages getting in touch with community groups of the regional council if people want to get involved.

“If people want to have traps in their backyard, we should be able to provide that – it’s a good way of getting people to do their bit.”