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  • Writer's pictureNatalie Jessup

Second successful aerial application of 1080 for predator control

Updated: Sep 1, 2023

Winter 2023 has seen the second successful aerial application of 1080 in te Raukūmara, another essential step in the long journey towards restoring the mana and mauri of our ngahere.

While official results are still some time away, the manu of the ngahere have sent a strong message of support.

"The bird life is coming back to the Haparapara" said Raukūmara Pae Maunga kaimahi Wiremu Wharepapa in early August, a few weeks after the operation was completed. "That part of the forest has been silent for so long, it's almost weird to hear native bird song again".

This second operation occurred over Raukūmara Block 2A an area that stretches from Maungaroa, Kereū river, east towards Whanarua Bay, back into the interior of the ngahere towards Whanokao maunga and along the upper reaches of the Raukokore river. The original plan was to include a much larger area that stretched further into the Ngati Porou side of state highway 35, but the ongoing impacts of the devastating weather events earlier in 2023 made this area too unstable. This area will be treated at a later stage, as soon as local conditions improve.

Raukūmara Pae Maunga Communications & Engagement Manager Ario Rewi spoke to Radio Ngāti Porou about saving this precious taonga

“Our people were at the heart of this decision, we’ve been through a heck of a lot as a community, as an iwi… we love our home and our people…
We want to walk on a journey with our people beside us,” says Ario.

Ngā mihi aroha Ario. Thank you for being such a connector, a voice, a real listener and important pou in our Naati and Raukūmara communities.

Learnings incorporated into second operation

The first successful operation in early 2023 provided myriad learning opportunities that were incorporated into the plans for the second operation.

"We learned so much from the first application that we were able to apply to our plans for the second" said Jade King-Hazel, Raukūmara Pae Maunga General Manager. For example, we didn't anticipate so many possum carcasses to move out of the ngahere and be carried into waterways by heavy floodwaters, but this happened in the first operation".

This didn't create any additional risk to people, as we know animal carcasses don't impact the quality of the water. What we didn't foresee however, is how many carcasses would then wash up on our beaches.

"It was really unfortunate that a few scavenging kurī found these carcasses and died," says Jade, "this was devastating - of course mostly for the whānau involved, and also for our teams as well. We all love our kurī!"

As a result of this event, the team decided to create a deeper buffer zone around the waterways to ensure that carcasses had much less chance of being washed into rivers or creeks in the hope this would mitigate risk to dogs who live downstream. This approach was successful and led to much lower numbers of possum carcasses washing up on beaches. As a result the teams of kaimahi who went out to clean up didn't have a lot to do! The great news is (at the time of writing), that no reports have come in of harm being caused to dogs.

Other adjustments were made that contributed to this great result:

  • Prior to the operation, much stronger focus was put on making sure every whānau in the area knew what was happening and understood the risk 1080 does present to kurī.

  • Engagement and communications took place with households, whānau groups, hapū and hunting clubs

  • More signs were put up, and kaimahi went door-to-door to inform members of the community and give them the chance to ask pātai

  • Muzzles were offered free of charge to any whānau who had concerns about dogs scavenging.

Successes being observed by kaimahi

Again, while it is too soon for official results, kaimahi are seeing for themselves the impact of this much-overdue pest eradication treatment. The evidence of how effective this treatment is, is plain for all to see, when one area is compared against another.

"You can almost see a line between the whenua that has been treated, and that which hasn't" observed Wiremu Wharepapa, who knows this part of the ngahere intimately. "It's only been a short while, but you can see the difference out there, clear as anything".

The rongoa treatment our forest needed so badly is starting to work, helping the ngahere begin to heal, restore and revive.

Other critical components of the operation have been just as successful. Water quality testing has come back clear, and all other monitoring activity is showing things are going exactly as anticipated.

So while we wait for formal results to come in, the learnings that are already apparent for future operations are being evaluated and incorporated into planning processes, ensuring a continuation of the tailor-made approach to pest control operations in te Raukūmara and maximum opportunities for success.

This is our whānau creating a by Māori, for Māori approach to pest control, and upskilling our people, creating jobs and opportunities in the process.

Watch this space for more 1080 operations updates, or click here for information.

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