16 Sep 2018

Waiheke Island wins $11 million for predator eradication

12:57 pm on 16 September 2018

Waiheke Island is set to become predator free in an $11 million push to rid the island of rats and stoats.

The kaka, a native New Zealand parrot, is classified as nationally vulnerable (as at February 2016).

Native kaka have recently returned to Waiheke and hopes are high other birds will return when the island becomes predator free. Photo: 123RF

A trust bringing together Waiheke community groups, Te Korowai o Waiheke, has secured funding to eradicate pests from the already possum-free island.

The funding, from Auckland Council, Predator Free 2050, Foundation North, community groups and Waiheke landowners, will cover a five-to-seven year programme to make the island pest free by 2025.

A trustee of Te Korowai o Waiheke, Towards Predator Free Waiheke, Mary Frankham, said her family had a century-long connection with the island and she was looking forward to the pest eradication starting.

Waiheke Island

An $11 million predator eradication programme is set to start on Waiheke Island in the Hauraki Gulf. Photo: 123RF

"Nature is really powerful and when you remove those limiting factors the results are pretty phenomenal," Ms Frankham said.

"We're already seeing on Waiheke the return of kaka from the neighbouring pest free islands, there have been reports of kākāriki.

"We hope to see bellbird come back and many other birds as well."

The project is being launched at Piritahi Marae on Waiheke today.

If eradication is successful, Waiheke will become the world's first predator-free urban island.

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