In 2019, the people of Puhoi became aware of an increase in the population of feral pigs at its environs. These pests were spread over a large area and were causing damage to pasture, reserves and personal property. In response to the issue, a public meeting was called in August, 2019 by The Forest Bridge Trust. The meeting agreed to form a control group, with organisations comprising the trust, pest control professionals, veterinary services, the Department of Conservation, NZ Police, the QEII National Trust, hunters and local landowners.
By September 2020 it was agreed that the efforts and controls put in place by the control group were taking effect, and it was decided that the focus would continue, but that other pests should be targeted as well, so a more inclusive pest eradication group was mooted.
It was decided that this should take the name of Puhoi Landcare, a historic group, and resurrect it as a subcommittee of the Puhoi Community Forum. The original Puhoi Landcare group had done significant pest control work in the area in the past. The reformed group has been able to build on the initial work undertaken, while at the same time rebuilding relationships with organisations such as Auckland Council, Rodney Local Board, Predator Free NZ, QEII and Boffa Miskell. In addition, strong connections are being established with The Forest Bridge Trust and Restore Rodney East.
A geographical area of 13,500 hectares was agreed upon, bounded by State Highway 1 to the east; Woodcocks and West Coast Roads to the north, Wech Access, Rauner and Tahekeroa Roads to the west and Upper Waiwera Road to the south.
With its amended focus, Puhoi Landcare then began the process of writing pest management and pest control programmes. These were completed and presented at Puhoi Landcare’s public launch on May 15 (MM, June 6).
Restore Rodney East, in conjunction with Predator Free NZ, The Forest Bridge Trust and QEII, hosted a seminar in Puhoi and again in Matakana. Attendees were then invited to attend a practical demonstration on pest control in Dunn’s Bush. Puhoi Landcare is keen to share the practical information learned on the day for the control of possums, rats and mustelids. With traps supplied by Auckland Council, Restore Rodney East and local donors, they are in a position to advise and implement trapping initiatives on both public and private land.
Most landowners are motivated on the issue of weed and pest control and chairman Greg Taylor says further information, support and education is available to enhance people’s efforts through the resources of Puhoi Landcare.
People are encouraged to contact Puhoi Landcare requesting assistance for all pest issues. If New Zealand is to be pest free by 2050 then we must all do our part.
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