Quentin Duthie

Pest Free Puke Ariki

Puke Ariki

Can you imagine kiwi roaming in Belmont Regional Park amongst regenerating native forest while Kākā, Kākāriki, and Titipounamu (rifleman) fly overhead? 

The Friends of Belmont Regional Park (FoBRP) have this vision for our hills, Puke Ariki, and they hosted a well-attended hui in May to discuss the how, when and who of a pest removal project across our 12,000 hectares. 

Members from surrounding community predator-free groups, including Maungaraki, gathered to share a common interest and entertain the viability of such a vision.

 Quentin Duthie, convenor of FoBRP and Belmont local, introduced us to some key people involved in inspirational conservation projects from both Wellington and other regions. 

Dr Danielle Shanahan, CEO of Zealandia and Korokoro resident, reminded us that as recently as the 1990s, there were only 30 breeding pairs of Tūī in the Wellington region. Now they are a common sight and sound across most suburbs.

Mauri Oho founders Lisa and Jeff shared the beginnings of their success story engaging with local Māori and iwi to trap predators in the Ruahine range.

Paul Stanley Ward of the Capital Kiwi detailed the project underway across the Wellington peninsula in preparation for the introduction of kiwi into the wild. They have laid 4500 traps across 23,000 hectares of public and private farmland to eliminate almost all stoats, the biggest threat to kiwi chicks.

Full of inspiration and success stories, Duthie then threw the hui to us, the local community, to start considering and discussing how we could make this happen. Key next steps include meeting with local iwi, sharing stories about the work and success of councils and local groups, and refining the vision, goals, and path ahead.

Would you like to host a trap in your backyard? Email Predator Free Maungaraki pfmaungaraki@gmail.com for more details.

To stay informed of Pest Free Puke Ariki plans, contact the Friends of Belmont Regional Park by emailing friendsofbelmontregionalpark@gmail.com or follow them on Facebook.

Photos and Captions:
QuentinDuthie.jpg – Quentin Duthie, Convenor of Friends of Belmont Regional Park.
PukeAriki.jpg – Puke Ariki – the range that includes Belmont Regional Park.