Imagine if Wellington were the world’s first predator free capital city – a network comprising thousands of households, community groups and organisations working together to eradicate rats, mustelids and possums, so our native wildlife can thrive.
That’s the vision behind Predator Free Wellington, a joint programme between Wellington City Council, Greater Wellington Regional Council, Iwi groups, and the NEXT Foundation.
Wellington pest control map
We're anticipating that Predator Free Wellington will result in:
- highly significant ecological outcomes - more birds, lizards and bugs contributing to healthy functioning ecosystems
- significant economic benefits - for example, no more rats chewing wires or pipes
- social benefits - more connected communities working together for a common cause.
Predator Free Wellington will provide specialist advice to community groups on how to get started, connect them to resources (which will include traps) and information, and provide expertise in planning, mapping and reporting.
The project’s initial focus is on eradicating predators from the Miramar Peninsula before moving into other Wellington suburbs.
Possums were declared eradicated from Miramar Peninsula in 2006 and the area is geographically well positioned to attempt a rat and stoat eradication as it can be defended from reinvasion (Cobham Drive and the airport runway act as a barrier). Predator Free Seatoun, Predator Free Miramar and other community groups are already trapping; and Wellington City Council already manages introduced predators of native animals across all its reserves in partnership with Greater Wellington Regional Council within the Key Native Ecosystems programme.
Predator Free Wellington has developed an eradication plan for the Miramar Peninsula and started making traps available to groups there now and backyard trapping is beginning to ramp up. The project has also completed baseline monitoring using a grid of 281 ‘chew cards’ to better understand the scale of the predator issue there.
We'll follow this with a strategy to extend this plan across the entire Wellington City area. Management of cats and dogs is not included in the scope of the proposed project. Engaging with the community will form a large part of the project and lessons learned by the Crofton Downs Predator Free group (New Zealand’s first predator free community) and others will inform both how we design and implement the project design. Expert advice will guide the development of the plan and strategy.
Wellington City Council has a vision to become a smart, connected eco-city and has also committed to being a Biophilic City as part of an international programme. BiophilicCities are cities that contain abundant nature; they are cities that care about, seek to protect, restore and grow this nature, and that strive to foster deep connections and daily contact with the natural world.
Our biodiversity strategy and action plan - Our Natural Capital - provides a context for the project.
The project is a partnership between philanthropic investor NEXT Foundation, the Wellington City Council and Wellington Greater Regional Council. It will eventually be led by a registered and incorporated charitable trust supported by partner organisations. Other organisations, such as central government’s Predator Free New Zealand 2050 may in time become formal partners within Predator Free Wellington.
Greater Wellington Regional Council
Greater Wellington Regional Council’s vision for biodiversity is that “Healthy ecosystems thrive in the Wellington region and provide habitat for native biodiversity”
This vision is supported by three goals in their Biodiversity Strategy:
- Areas of high biodiversity value are protected or restored
- Ecosystem functions are maintained or restored across the landscape
- People understand and value biodiversity and ecosystems
Greater Wellington Regional Council works towards this vision by working with private landowners, territorial authorities and a range of stakeholders in the community across the Wellington region.
The Council recognises that by contributing to the objectives and outcomes of a predator-free Wellington will significantly contribute to achieving its long-term vision for the region.
NEXT Foundation has engaged Kelvin Hastie as the NEXT Predator Free Community Champion.
Kevin spearheaded the successful Predator Free Crofton Downs project and has since extended that to other communities. Kelvin’s role is to help with the Wellington Predator Free project and ultimately other communities in the wider vision for New Zealand to be Predator Free by 2050.
NEXT Foundation’s vision is to create a legacy of environmental and educational excellence for the benefit of future generations of New Zealanders.
NEXT Foundation is a strategic philanthropic investor which supports projects that:
- are significant in scale and impact, overcome a specific need or create future opportunities
- are well supported by research and analysis, that have good management and governance
- have effective metric systems, defined outcomes, and measurable objectives
- are sustained in the long term
- have the greatest potential to inspire and create lasting value for New Zealanders.
NEXT views New Zealand’s natural environment as the foundation of not only our economy but also our sense of identity. NEXT’s vision is to ensure our natural environment remains healthy so that it will continue to provide us with the essential resources that underpin a thriving and prosperous New Zealand.
Predator Free Wellington’s website is coming soon, but in the meantime you can still get involved. Here are some ideas: