Unfurling fronds Rakiura Track Stewart Island credit B Maryns

Current initiatives

Current predator control and biosecurity initiatives

Predator Free Rakiura is an ambitious and courageous project to help our community and nature to thrive together by removing predators. Drawing on the combined efforts of so many within our community, this map shows Stewart Island/Rakiura’s current predator control, biosecurity work and pest-free sanctuaries.

Help us fill the gaps as we work to develop a single project, which aims to remove the predators and create a natural haven for our taonga, forever. Only together will our vision become a reality.

Learn more about how you can participate in our Frequently Asked Questions.

Map Key

Select a group to focus the map

    Our Conservation Heroes

    An incredible amount of work towards a predator-free Rakiura has already been achieved by iwi, the community and various organisations.

    Many people on and around Rakiura are doing their bit to control predators and keep their properties, homes, vehicles and vessels rat-free.

    Feral cat bait matrix trials

    In March and April 2021, field trials using non-toxic chicken and rabbit sausage baits were conducted between the Murray River and Saddle Point on the north-east coast of Rakiura to test their palatability for both target and non-target species. Footage from trail cameras indicates cats eat the baits, but possums and rats also did, which are not susceptible, limiting bait availability for cats. No deer or native birds ate the baits.

    Read full report

    Bluff Hill / Motupohue Environment Trust

    Our aim is to provide an environment where native plants and animals are thriving – not just surviving – on and around Bluff Hill. We are dedicated to the restoration and protection of the natural environment on and around Bluff Hill. We do this through pest control, habitat restoration, species translocation and raising public awareness.

    Predators: Possums, feral cats, rats, hedgehogs, weasels, ferrets and stoats

    Operating since: 2008

    More information: http://www.bluffenvirotrust.org/

    Department of Conservation

    The Department of Conservation (DOC) undertakes predator control across multiple areas on and around Rakiura. Below is a summary of their work. 


    Tiwai peninsula: We aim to control predators of ground-nesting birds, and to minimise browsing impacts on sensitive ecosystems like the coastal turf fields at Tiwai. DOC has a trap network across Tiwai peninsula, Awarua Bay and Waituna lagoon and boardwalk. There are also trap lines along the coast from Tiwai to the start of Fortrose dunes. In addition vessels out of Bluff destined for the sub-Antarctics are checked for rodents and are fitted with bait stations on board for biosecurity. 

    Predators: Mustelids, rats, hedgehogs, possums, rabbits, blackjack and cats

    More information: https://www.doc.govt.nz/our-work/arawai-kakariki-wetland-restoration/sites/awarua-waituna-wetlands/restoring-awarua-waituna/

    Pest free islands: 
    DOC directly manages 3 pest-free island sanctuaries near the main island of Rakiura through biosecurity surveillance and incursion response. Codfish Island/Whenua Hou is a nature reserve primarily used to manage a breeding programme for the critically endangered kākāpō but is also a sanctuary for a range of other threatened species. Bench Island/Waitaua is a nature reserve sanctuary for invertebrates, coastal plant species and hoiho. Ulva Island/Te Wharawhara is an open access sanctuary for a range of threatened bird and plant species and one of Rakiura’s major tourist attractions. 

    Predators: Rodents are the main targets of biosecurity surveillance and incursion response as they are the most likely invaders either via swimming from the main island or being transported on vessels. Other pest species are also targeted with surveillance and incursion response to ensure the island sanctuaries remain entirely pest-free.

    Operating since: Whenua Hou was gazetted as a Nature Reserve in 1986 and was made pest free in 1998. Ulva Island was first deemed a reserve in 1899, one of the first of its kind in New Zealand and was made pest-free in 1997. Bench Island was gazetted as a reserve for flora and fauna in 1926 and later became a Nature Reserve when the Reserves Act was enacted in 1977. Bench has never had possums or feral cats and rodents were eradicated in 2005

    More information: 





    Rakiura mainland Southern New Zealand Dotterel Recovery Programme: DOC’s Southern New Zealand Dotterel Recovery Programme includes a variety of projects with the common aim of saving the critically threatened population from extinction. A major component of the programme is a multi-species predator control project which aims to suppress populations of predator species which kill or destroy dotterel adults, chicks and eggs.

    Predators: The primary predator species targeted are feral cats and white-tailed deer. Rodents are controlled to reduce interference with our feral cat control methods. Australasian harriers and spur-wing plovers are additional native predator targets as these are known to eat or kill dotterel chicks and destroy eggs in nests.

    Operating since: 1994

    More information:




    Native Island: Native Island is covered with a grid of Good Nature A24 self-resetting traps which aim to reduce the resident rat population to very low levels and quickly reduce the impact of regular incursions from the main island which is only about 60 metres away.

    Predators: Norway, ship and kiore rats

    Operating since: 2013

    More information: https://www.doc.govt.nz/parks-and-recreation/places-to-go/southland/places/stewart-island-rakiura/rakiura-national-park/


    Pearl, Anchorage and Noble Islands: DOC maintains possum exclusion on three large islands near Port Pegasus/Pikihatiti including Pearl, Anchorage and Noble Islands. 

    Predators: Possums

    More information: https://www.doc.govt.nz/parks-and-recreation/places-to-go/southland/places/stewart-island-rakiura/rakiura-national-park/

    Halfmoon Bay School and SIRCET

    School kids: Fortnightly checking of four rat traps at Bush school. Weekly checking of approximately 15 rat traps around the school with SIRCET's Pest Manager

    Predators: Rats

    Operating since: July 2018

    More information: https://www.facebook.com/halfmoonbayschool/

    Kākāpō Recovery

    Kākāpō Recovery combines the efforts of scientists, rangers, volunteers and donors to protect the critically endangered kākāpō.

    More information: https://www.doc.govt.nz/our-work/kakapo-recovery/

    Mamaku Point Conservation Trust

    Mamaku Point Conservation Trust operates a full biosecurity network using a combination of predator proof fence, trapping and baiting with the objective of achieving and maintaining zero pests within the reserve.

    Predators: Rats/ feral cats/possums\deer

    Operating since: The property has been pest controlled since 2005 (and since 2017 by Mamaku Point Conservation Trust)

    More information: https://www.mamakupoint.nz/

    Mamaku Point Conservation Reserve

    Southland Branch - New Zealand Deerstalkers Association

    The Mason Bay rat trapping project covers approximately 300ha of coastal forest situated amongst a broader dune ecosystem. Mason Bay represents some of the only intact temperate dune system in the southern hemisphere, stretching inland up to three kilometres and reaching over 200m in height. It is home to a range of locally endemic plants and animals, including many threatened species.

    The location is a key wintering site for the critically endangered Southern New Zealand Dotterel which rest here during the high tides before flying across to places like the Freshwater River mouth mudflats to feed during the low tides. It is home to one of the largest and most visible populations of Kiwi in New Zealand as well as a range of forest bird species such as red-crowned parakeet, kereru, kaka, tui, bellbird, tomtit, fantail and more.

    NZDA members (six teams of three people) maintain and re-bait a network of 309 victor rat traps every year Control trips are targeted to spring and summer and generally range from August to December. The primary aim of the project is to increase the productivity of nesting forest birds during their vulnerable breeding season by reducing rat density and therefore rat predation of eggs, chicks and disturbance of incubating adults.

    Predators: Rats

    Operating since: 2006

    Read the latest Mason Bay Rat Project Report here.

    More information: http://www.southlanddeerstalkers.org.nz/

    Ōmaui Landcare Charitable Trust

    Ōmaui Landcare Charitable Trust have a grid system of 573 A24 gas operated rat and stoat killers. They need to be rebaited and gassed twice a year.  For possum control we employ a contractor to poison when the RTC shows that it is needed. We have a network of approx 500 bait stations on a grid system for this purpose.  Currently we are not controlling cats but, will be putting a plan together probably over the next year. 

    Predators: Rats, stoats, possums.

    Operating since: We commenced operations on a small scale in June of 2013.

    More information: www.omauilandcarecharitabletrust.co.nz

    Paws 4 Conservation

    Check vessels which regularly travel to Ulva Island, e.g. water taxis, ferry, charter boats, to ensure they are rodent free. Advocate for maintaining a pest free Ulva by connecting with visiting school groups, talking about what needs to be done and why, and checking bags before they depart for Ulva. We're also on call to respond to requests for help locating / removing rodents from any local vessel (many fishing boats work and moor near other rodent free islands around Rakiura). 

    Predators: Rats and mice

    Operating since: 2013

    More information: https://www.facebook.com/paws4conservation/

    Predator Free Southland

    In order to support the ongoing efforts across Southland and to find a way to move us closer towards the predator free goal, a joint initiative of Ngāi Tahu, Environment Southland, the Department of Conservation, Gore District Council, Invercargill City Council and Southland District Council has resulted in the formation of a governance group, and the joint funding of the role of a Predator Free Southland Coordinator.

    The Coordinator focuses on establishing a collaborative network, including community groups and agencies across Southland, identifies the necessary capability and capacity in order to find solutions and funding, determines priority projects to focus our efforts on, and creates a framework and 5-year action plan for Southland to collaborate at scale to control our predators and protect our biodiversity.

    More information: https://www.es.govt.nz/environment/biosecurity-and-biodiversity/predator-free-southland

    QEII National Trust covenants

    QEII National Trust is an independent charitable trust that partners with private landowners to protect natural and cultural heritage sites on their land with covenants. A covenant is an agreement between QEII and a landowner to protect land forever. The landowner continues to own and manage the protected land, and the covenant and protection stays on the land, even when the property is sold to a new owner.

    QEII partnerships have created a growing network of over 4,600 protected areas throughout Aotearoa, ranging from small backyard patches to huge swathes of high country. These covenants protect more than 187,000 ha of private land, and these play a hugely critical role as a refuge for some of New Zealand’s rarest and most endangered biodiversity and ecosystems.

    More information: https://qeiinationaltrust.org.nz/

    Rakiura Hunter Camp Trust

    The Rakiura Hunter Camp Trust was formed in the late 1990s to clean up camp sites, stop bush degradation, help stop conflict with different user groups by keeping hunting parties separated from tramping parties, etc. The trust has built 16 new huts, and extensively upgraded a further two, making a total of 18 huts that they maintain under a concession lease.

    Predators: Rats, cats and possums at each hut site.

    Operating since: late 1990's

    More information: http://www.rhct.org.nz

    Rakiura Māori Lands Trust

    The Neck project originally focussed on the removal of possums and deer. However, following a successful application to the DOC Community Fund, a boost of $156,000 enabled us to add feral cats and rats to the list of predators. The project started in 2007 and the effects of the possum control since this time has resulted in the flora undergoing a huge improvement. The evidence for this improvement has been gathered using 20 fixed photo point stations around The Neck with a replicated set of photographs taken every two years, thus allowing comparisons to be made.

    Predators: Possums, deer, rats and feral cats

    Operating since: 2007

    More information: https://www.rmlt.co.nz/

    Rakiura Pest Control

    I operate a trapping business for private properties, staff premises, commercial properties, holiday homes etc.  I have around 50 properties that I trap on for mainly rats across Oban.  I also target possums and feral cats when required.  I trap for rats, possums and feral cats at the airstrip on behalf of Stewart Island Flights (as a volunteer) and also trap rats at Big Glory Bay at various Sanford farm sites and around their accommodation and through the bush at the head of Big Glory Bay.

    Predators: Main targets are rats although I do trap for possums and feral cats as well.  

    Operating since: 2018

    More information: rpc@xtra.co.nz

    Rakiura Shipping

    We have bait stations in the shed at Bluff and bait stations on the vessels.

    Operating since: Always

    Predators: Mice and rats

    More information: http://www.rakiurashipping.co.nz/

    Rakiura Tītī Committee

    This committee is a group of ten people, elected annually at our February AGM. The main task of the committee is to administer the Tītī (Muttonbird) Islands Regulations 1978. 

    As such the committee:

    • determines persons who may enter islands and conditions of entry
    • determines provisions relating to birding and use of the buildings on the islands
    • holds elections and appointments of supervisors to oversee manu (birding areas)
    • hold meetings, annual general meetings (AGM) and general hui
    • deals with breaches of regulations
    • deals with disputes related to Tītī Islands

    Outside of the regulations we undertake work programs of pest management / rat eradication / pest plant removal, species management / enhancement, species transfers, etc.

    We also advocate wherever possible with national and international agencies, whose activities may have an influence in one way or other, on the health and well-being of the Tītī and the other multitude of species that inhabit our islands. The objective we are aiming for is sustainable utilisation of the flora and fauna of those taonga islands, and the same objectives apply to the ecosystem management externally as these all have an influence on the health and well-being we are attempting to achieve.

    The islands that the Rakiura Tītī Committee administer are those that were set aside at the time of the sale of Rakiura to the Crown in 1864. The argument at the time was that the Rakiura Māori never intended that those islands would be included in the sale of Rakiura! The Crown's way of appeasing the people was to set aside those eighteen islands, now known as the Beneficial Islands, as reserves for the sole use and benefit of named natives of the time and for their descendants. The other eighteen islands were also set aside under a different regime and these were known as the Crown Tītī Islands. They have also been set aside for the sole use and benefit of Rakiura Māori, however, these islands require an annual permit to enter onto each year, whereas the Beneficial Islands are a descending right.

    The title to both sets of islands were at one time held by the Crown, but now the complete ownership has been returned back to Rakiura Māori to manage under their own Rangatiratanga. Since this time we have seen major gains made with pest management and species management with the support of the Department of Conservation, Te Runanga O Ngai Tahu, the University of Otago, etc.

    These islands have at times been described as the jewels in the crown. We Rakiura Māori can agree with that sentiment as we go about doing tasks necessary to return those places back to as near a natural state as we possibly can!  The islands are 70% predator free now, and once we clear Rakiura of predators that keep invading our islands, we can then complete our task.

    Mo tatou, a mo ka uri a muri ake nei.

    For all of us and our children after us.

    Rakiura Tītī Islands Administering Body

    We are actively enhancing the conservation values of the Rakiura Tītī Islands. We have undertaken eradications of all rat species from 70% of the islands and have intense rat control programmes for those islands in close proximity to Rakiura. Cats are prohibited and all dogs have to have a permit to enter the Rakiura Tītī Islands. We are actively involved in biosecurity with strong policies and increasing rodent dog checks in place each year. Our work includes the translocation of Taonga species within the various Tītī Islands. In addition to enhancing the conservation values we work to enhance the mana values of the Tītī Islands and its peoples encouraging the Matauranga values in connection to the whenua o Nga Tipuna. 

    Predators: All three species of rats

    Operating since: Lifetime


    RealNZ in partnership with Rakiura Maori Lands Trust undertake rat trapping with A24s and Victor snap traps at Ocean Beach, the site of our kiwi viewing experience. Possum and feral cat control is planned to start in 2020.

    RealNZ have rodent bait stations and rodent traps at the Bluff ferry terminal and at the Bluff storage shed for freighted goods to Rakiura. ‘Nibble’ cards have been used to monitor presence of rodents. The ferries are checked weekly, during maintenance, for rodent sign and conservation dog Detector Gadget checks for rodent sign around six times per year.

    Predators at Ocean Beach: Rats (possum and feral cat control planned to start in 2020).

    Predators at ferry terminal: Rats and mice.

    Operating since: 2017

    More information: https://www.realnz.com/en/experiences/expeditions/stewart-island-discovery-expeditions/

    Southland Ecological Restoration Network

    Southland Ecological Restoration Network (SERN) is a network of Southland people “bringing back the natives”. The aim is to promote the restoration of native ecological sites in Southland.

    Their website features a number of local restoration projects, with contact information and photos for each project. There is also at least one field day a year to bring people involved in restoration together, to encourage and share knowledge and also celebrate all the good work going on around Southland.

    SERN openly invites volunteers to approach restoration project contacts if they wish to lend a hand.

    More information: https://www.sern.org.nz/

    South Port NZ

    The Port being on an island acts as a barrier to entry by pests. Bait stations are around perimeters of buildings which store edible product, There is a full Pest Management Programme in place which is MPI Compliant, as part of the RMP (Risk Management Programmes) for these areas. RMP stores, holding un-refrigerated products, have traps inside the buildings.  All bait stations and traps are monitored at least monthly by an external contractor.  Monitoring can be increased if necessary.  The monthly reports/findings are reviewed by the Compliance Officer and feedback given to increase monitoring. Doors are kept shut unless in use for operational purposes to prevent pests entering.  Buildings are monitored for any damage and if any occurs the area is mended as soon as possible. All staff are encouraged to report sightings of pests external to these areas.

    Predators: Bait stations (external) and traps (internal) are targeting rats and mice. 

    More information: www.southport.co.nz

    Stewart Island Flights

    Stewart Island Flights are trapping the Ryan’s Creek Airfield perimeter with victor traps around 150+ and working on more traps for another outer layer. At times they organise a reduction in deer numbers as well. We have been operating for in excess of 14 years. On the airfield we target rats and feral cats and on the 15 acres prior to the airfield (which we privately own) we have an good nature line of A12 possum traps and a few A24’s. DOC has mouse bait traps in both our hangars due to our Codfish flights.

    Predators: Rats, feral cats, possums and occasionally deer

    Operating since: Prior to 2003

    More information: www.stewartislandflights.com

    Stewart Island / Rakiura Community & Environment Trust (SIRCET)

    SIRCET promotes projects that benefit the Stewart Island / Rakiura community and its environment. Our focus is predominantly ecological restoration through control of pests and weeds, with the support of volunteers and landowners.

    Predators: Rats, possums and feral cats

    Operating since: 2003

    More information: https://www.sircet.org.nz/

    Check out SIRCET's adopt-a-trap programme here: https://www.sircet.org.nz/donate/adopt-a-trap/ 

    Ulva Island Charitable Trust

    Ulva Island Charitable Trust support DOC in the endeavor to keep Ulva Island predator free, by raising money via booklet sales, DVD sales (Ulva Island DVD) and donation boxes, to help towards costs of any rat incursions on the island. Plus we pay for food for the volunteers who help to keep a DOC presence on the island during the busier months. We also financially support Sandy and Gadget (the rat detection dog) they do such an amazing job

    Predators: Rats

    Operating since: 1999

    More information: http://www.ulvaisland.org/

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