Cadets to start pest-free work on Mahia peninsula

NO PESTS: Working towards a predator-free Mahia are (front, from left) cadets Lynn Dragovich, Michaela King-Peters and Kaya Cooper. At back are Tania Hopmans, Maungaharuru-Tangitu trustee, and Moana Rongo, chairman of the Rongomaiwahine Iwi Trust. They are pictured at Tuahuru Marae where the cadets were welcomed at a powhiri. Picture supplied

Three cadets were welcomed by Rongomaiwahine iwi at a powhiri at Tuahuru Marae in Mahia on Friday, to mark the beginning of their work towards a predator-free Mahia.

The positions, funded by the Whakatipu Mahia Predator-Free Mahia project, are development roles that have been created to support possum eradication on the peninsula and build iwi capability in line with broader ecological and social goals.

Rongomaiwahine iwi and the local farming community are vital to the success of the project, and the plan is for local hapu and iwi to take the lead in future.

Moana Rongo, chairman of the Rongomaiwahine Iwi Trust, says the new roles are a further realisation of the responsibility as tangata whenua (the people of the land) being kaitiaki (caretakers) of the rohe whenua and the rohe moana (the land and sea of the region).

The cadet roles — one coordinator role and two predator control roles — will be building the local connections and knowledge needed for this to happen.

One of the predator control cadets will train in Mahia, but will later work in northern Hawke’s Bay, in areas important to the hapu represented by Maungaharuru-Tangitu Trust.

Maungaharuru-Tangitu trustee Tania Hopmans says its traditional area from north of the Waikari River to south of Te Wai-o-Hinganga (the Esk River) has been overrun by pests such as feral cats, possums and mustelids.

“As a result, our prized, native species have been decimated.

“Effective predator control will provide a safe home in the future for our native species to return and flourish. This is a key goal for our hapu and the wider community.

“We are thrilled to have one of our whanau from Tangoio Marae, Michaela King, as our first cadet. Michaela will learn valuable skills in Te Mahia alongside our relations Rongomaiwahine, and will help lead the restoration of our taiao (environment) closer to home.”

Day to day, the cadets will be out on the land, trapping with Whakatipu Mahia’s possum and pest eradication teams.

Over time, they will get to know the land and the people, helping to realise the project’s overall vision of restoring the mauri and ecology of Te Mahia peninsula.

For now, it’s all about pest eradication and working to meet Whakatipu Mahia’s goal of wiping out possums from 14,500 hectares of land on Mahia peninsula in four years.

Trapping will begin soon and the full possum eradication and predator suppression trap network is expected to be completed by 2021.

The knowledge gained in Mahia will be used to develop a low-cost farmland control and eradication model applicable to other parts of Hawke’s Bay and New Zealand.

Three cadets were welcomed by Rongomaiwahine iwi at a powhiri at Tuahuru Marae in Mahia on Friday, to mark the beginning of their work towards a predator-free Mahia.

The positions, funded by the Whakatipu Mahia Predator-Free Mahia project, are development roles that have been created to support possum eradication on the peninsula and build iwi capability in line with broader ecological and social goals.

Rongomaiwahine iwi and the local farming community are vital to the success of the project, and the plan is for local hapu and iwi to take the lead in future.

Moana Rongo, chairman of the Rongomaiwahine Iwi Trust, says the new roles are a further realisation of the responsibility as tangata whenua (the people of the land) being kaitiaki (caretakers) of the rohe whenua and the rohe moana (the land and sea of the region).

The cadet roles — one coordinator role and two predator control roles — will be building the local connections and knowledge needed for this to happen.

One of the predator control cadets will train in Mahia, but will later work in northern Hawke’s Bay, in areas important to the hapu represented by Maungaharuru-Tangitu Trust.

Maungaharuru-Tangitu trustee Tania Hopmans says its traditional area from north of the Waikari River to south of Te Wai-o-Hinganga (the Esk River) has been overrun by pests such as feral cats, possums and mustelids.

“As a result, our prized, native species have been decimated.

“Effective predator control will provide a safe home in the future for our native species to return and flourish. This is a key goal for our hapu and the wider community.

“We are thrilled to have one of our whanau from Tangoio Marae, Michaela King, as our first cadet. Michaela will learn valuable skills in Te Mahia alongside our relations Rongomaiwahine, and will help lead the restoration of our taiao (environment) closer to home.”

Day to day, the cadets will be out on the land, trapping with Whakatipu Mahia’s possum and pest eradication teams.

Over time, they will get to know the land and the people, helping to realise the project’s overall vision of restoring the mauri and ecology of Te Mahia peninsula.

For now, it’s all about pest eradication and working to meet Whakatipu Mahia’s goal of wiping out possums from 14,500 hectares of land on Mahia peninsula in four years.

Trapping will begin soon and the full possum eradication and predator suppression trap network is expected to be completed by 2021.

The knowledge gained in Mahia will be used to develop a low-cost farmland control and eradication model applicable to other parts of Hawke’s Bay and New Zealand.

Factbox

Whakatipu Mahia – Predator Free Mahia is part of Predator Free Hawke’s Bay, which was launched In July 2018 by Hawke’s Bay Regional Council (HBRC) and Predator Free 2050 Ltd (PF2050 Ltd).

Predator Free Hawke’s Bay is a $4.86 million project that builds on the success of other landscape-scale ecological restoration projects Cape to City and Poutiri Ao o Tane, and aims to rid Hawke’s Bay of predators, including possums.

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