Pest News from Friends of Te Wairoa

Kia Ora trappers, and welcome to the new members of our Wairoa river catchment pest control team. Alongside this newsletter, a friendly reminder to check, reset and rebait those pest eradication devices around your property, and send in your latest catch numbers. It may also be a time to review placement and spacing of traps. Auckland Council has released a revised set of guidelines to assist you.

New date for the Clevedon Bait and Trap Day: Sunday 18th October

Drop in for a chat about pest control on your property between 9am – 12.30pm

Location to be confirmed – check the Friends of Te Wairoa facebook page for up to date details. If lockdown levels rise, the event will be postponed.

We are hoping to hold a bait and trap day in Ardmore in the near future too.

Catch data comparison:

  2018 – June 2020: From July 1, 2020:
Possums: 2095 38
Rats: 617 51
Mice: 283 6
Ferrets: 12 10
Stoats: 4 0
Weasels: 1 0
Feral Cats: 19 12
Rabbits: 312 57
Hedgehogs: 31 0
Hares: 44 2
Magpies: 0 2
Total: 3479 178


This highlights the importance of reporting data – your property counts towards totals we can be proud of! A big thankyou to the properties that regularly email their catch, or use

Special mention to the ONE Hunua property responsible for most of the feral cats and all 10 of the ferrets since July 2020 – making a total of 14 ferrets caught on this property since March, frozen and sent for research on population dynamics. Also a special mention to a young member of our community who stopped and picked up a warm stoat carcass from the side of the road with his father, which was also frozen and sent for research.

‘He who made the greatest mistake did nothing because he could only do a little.’ Every mouse trapped counts, every mustelid saved for research helps.

During these trying and uncertain times, if you want to turn pest control into a bit of extra cash there is of course the option to pluck possum fur to sell. This is easiest when the body is still warm, but can be done cold too. It can be done by hand although possum plucking machines do exist. There are also companies around that will buy rabbits and hares to turn into petfood. A bit of internet searching should provide companies involved in these industries.

There is always knowledge and ideas to be shared, within and between trapping communities. A recent conversation with a Waiheke trapper gave an insight into another approach to rabbit control – a live trap with a trigger plate, veges as the lure and a vege trail leading into the trap. Kimberly tells me that sometimes the smell of another rabbit, who has urinated or left droppings, is enough to entice another rabbit into the trap.

Sharing of knowledge is vital to overall success of this wonderful concept of predator eradication in New Zealand. What works for your property may not work for everyone, but it may just work for your neighbour and your dog’s secret best friend on the other side of the valley. There are some neat stories coming through of neighbours offering to help neighbours, and people trapping on multiple properties. This shows awesome community spirit and teamwork – that’s how we’ll get the job done. I am interested to hear tips that work for you – I am compiling a list of ‘Trapping Tips’ that seem to work locally and would appreciate some anecdotes and ideas! Any wonderful stories that might inspire others are welcomed too.

Recently, there have been sightings of Karearea (NZ Falcon) in the area, which is wonderful news and something we’d like to encourage, so keep up the great work. On the topic of birds, Auckland Council are still wanting sightings of wild Australian sulphur crested cockatoo in the area – they appear to be settling in quite nicely, which we want to discourage!

Local community heroes among you, to inspire and encourage:

  • Christine Mason: Stepping up to store bait and traps for ease of access for Clevedon trappers. Christine has also been experimenting in making homemade possum lure – when the recipe is smoothed out I hope to be able to share this with you all.
  • Hugo McPhail: One of the youngest, and contending for the most enthusiastic member of our community is Clevedon Primary School student Hugo. Read his story here.

As always, get in touch with me if you need specific advice, a visit, or more hardware. I enjoy hearing about what’s happening out there so good news stories are great too.

Happy trapping!

Lenny van Heugten
Pest Control Co-ordinator
Friends of Te Wairoa