It wasn’t all plain sailing at the start of our hub day in the Countdown car park at Beachlands. An ominous black cloud gathered just after 9.00 as the team began setting up our stand, and as the rain started we made a hasty relocation to under the cover of “The Franklin”. Fortunately it didn’t last long, and as the sun came out, so did the people, with a steady stream of interested folk turning up all morning to chat about pest control and how they wanted to get involved.

Some people who came along were thinking big: one guy was picking up supplies for seven of his neighbours. They all border the same creek, and he’s planning to get everyone coordinated in protecting that length of the waterway. Another attendee lives near a local reserve, and after a quick chat about how we could assist with supplies he left with a giant box of equipment, with plans for him and his neighbours to coordinate with the local council on setting up and running traplines all through the reserve. We had several questions about getting Motukaraka Island (Flat Island) to become a predator-free island, and a boatie left with a load of kit to protect the local boat shed from rats, and a plan to bail up the marina to see what their predator control was like. We even had a sizeable number of people coming over from Whitford to get stuff.

What stood out at this hub day was the way that people are taking a wider community view of what pest control means, and how it works. People don’t just want a trap or bait station for themselves anymore, they want to pick up one for their neighbours as well, or to start protecting a local reserve. They want to have conversations with neighbours about working together on pest control, with the aim of getting a larger area predator-free than any one person could achieve alone. And that’s something that we can very much get behind.