Sunrise over the Ruggedy Ranges Stewart Island.Rakiura Photo Jake Osborne CC BY NC SA 2.0

FAQs

Frequently asked questions

This is large, complex project and it will take time! 

We have many questions to work through. 

If you have a question we have not answered below, please contact us.

How long will it take to achieve a Predator Free Rakiura and how much will it cost?

At this point the potential cost and length of the project is unknown. We are working to identify answers to both questions. A project of this scale and complexity is unchartered territory. Testing and design will give clarity around estimated costs and timelines.

We secured a million-dollar funding boost over 12 months, with up to $5 million on the table over the next 5 years from the Department of Conservation. This will help us move into the testing and design phase of the project. The funds will kick-start the project by helping us establish a formal entity, establish a project team, and begin testing. More funds may be required to help with this phase.  

How can I participate?

We need your help to make a Predator Free Rakiura possible, whether that is by helping remove the predators, making sure you are not bringing predators to the island, donating time or money or being a vocal supporter when it really counts. Here is a list of some ideas for how you can help to create a Predator Free Rakiura or participate in the predator control and biosecurity work currently underway:

  • Control predators on your property or vessel.
  • Be a responsible pet owner - such as neutering, microchipping, being-in-at-night for cats, and kiwi avoidance training for dogs.
  • Volunteer with or donate to a conservation group. Consider Bluff Hill / Motupōhue Environment TrustStewart Island / Rakiura Community & Environment Trust (SIRCET) and Mamaku Point.
  • Consider a research project that works through the knowledge gaps or barriers for Predator Free Rakiura.
  • If you are a Rakiura resident or bach owner, consider contacting Rakiura Pest Control (rpc@xtra.co.nz) to discuss predator control services for your property.
  • Share your stories: what has worked for you and your vision for the future?
  • Promote the project.
  • Offer education services for the project.

See more information on how to participate

How will my lifestyle be affected?

At this stage, no proposals have been made nor decisions made on predator removal methods or the way in which predators will be kept off Rakiura, following removal. To protect Rakiura into the future, some form of biosecurity border will be needed. What that looks like and how it affects residents, business and visitors is not known. Detailed options will be developed and the communities of interest will have plenty of opportunity to seek elaboration and express preferences over which one(s) they want to see implemented. Designing and trialling solutions will identify all available options, providing leadership and community groups with the knowledge they need to make an informed, collaborative decision. If you would like to give us feedback, please contact us here. 

Who will pay for the project?

In October 2020, multi-year funding from the Department of Conservation was secured to help move into the testing and design phase of the project. We may need to build on this with contributions from philanthropic trusts, and public donations. 

The cost of the full eradication project is currently unknown. It is likely to be a combination of donations from philanthropic trusts, public donations and central government.

What predator removal tools/methods will be used and what will be their impact on the community and environment?

At this stage, no proposals or decisions have been made on predator removal methods. Detailed options will be developed and the communities of interest will have plenty of opportunity to seek elaboration and express preferences over which one(s) they want to see implemented. If you would like to give us your feedback, please contact us here. 

Will aerial toxin be used?

To protect Rakiura into the future, some form of biosecurity border will be needed, but no decisions have been made yet. What methods will be used to achieve a Predator Free Rakiura and how they will affect residents, businesses and visitors is not known, but the communities of interest will have plenty of opportunities to seek elaboration and express preferences over which one(s) they want to see implemented. Designing and running trials will help to identify all available options, providing leadership and community groups with the knowledge they need to make an informed, collaborative decision. 

Why is a Predator Free Rakiura possible now?

Whether or not we can achieve a Predator Free Rakiura is not yet known. Due to technology advances and the broad support for a Predator Free 2050, it is believed the large, complex challenges identified in the past could possibly now be overcome or will be overcome if we start working on the specific questions for this project.

What is taking so long?

Working through a project of this scale and complexity, with technical challenges requiring unique responses and solutions, takes time, money, expertise, and a long-term commitment. Momentum in pest eradication technology and investment for a Predator Free New Zealand has ramped up in recent years, so projects that were previously considered infeasible like this one are now being reconsidered. A Memorandum of Understanding was signed in July 2019, which describes the commitment of the 13 Parties to the Predator Free Rakiura project. In October 2021, the alliance established Te Puka Rakiura Trust to govern the project and begin the process of hiring the project team.

What impact will there be on deer?

Deer are not in scope for Predator Free Rakiura. The Predator Free Rakiura Engagement & Advisory Group includes a representative from the New Zealand Deerstalkers Association to ensure its needs are represented. The New Zealand Deerstalkers Association is also a signatory of the Memorandum of Understanding between the Parties supporting the Predator Free Rakiura project, thereby committing to develop a strategy for the project.

Why are deer not being considered for removal as part of Predator Free Rakiura?

The Predator Free Rakiura project focuses on the removal of a shortlist of predators (rats, possums, hedgehogs, and feral cats) as these species are considered to have the greatest predatory impact on Rakiura’s wildlife. The project's vision recognises the economic and recreational hunting value placed on deer by the local and extended community. Including deer for removal would significantly alter the costs and level of support for the Predator Free Rakiura proposal. 

How will my pets be affected?

Domestic pets are not in scope for removal by Predator Free Rakiura.  Environment Southland requires that pet cats are neutered and micro-chipped.

Is this part of Predator Free 2050?

A successful Predator Free Rakiura project would be an important milestone in the journey towards a Predator Free New Zealand. The project is of a large scale and involves overcoming complex challenges, which will require the learnings from other projects and also provide learnings for other projects.

More information: Predator Free 2050 Limited and Predator Free New Zealand

What do the local Rakiura community think?

The local Rakiura community are best placed to answer that question. Having so many different agencies, organisations and individuals with differing motivations and backgrounds involved in Predator Free Rakiura, including residents and bach owner representatives, helps ensure breadth in the planning of the project. Survey work has indicated strong overall support for the concept within the local Rakiura community.

What is the focus of work for the next year?

In October 2020, multi-year funding was secured to enable the project to move to the next phase – planning and design. In October 2021, the Predator Free Rakiura Leadership Group established Te Puka Rakiura Charitable Trust to provide governance and enable the project to receive funding moving forward. The funding will be used to kick-start project design, establish a project team and develop a project plan. Communication and engagement is another key focus, including working with local community and stakeholders to maximise community benefits.

How are the local Stewart Island / Rakiura Community and Environment Trust (SIRCET) involved in this project now and in the future?

SIRCET is not currently represented on the Predator Free Rakiura Engagement & Advisory Group (PFREAG). The PFREAG look forward to working with all the trusts, agencies, organisations and individuals who want to see Predator Free Rakiura become a reality. SIRCET’s vision of ‘tieke in our backyard’ aligns perfectly with the aspirations of a Predator Free Rakiura and we are excited to work together in the future.

Learn more about SIRCET.

What is the current status of a fence option around the Halfmoon Bay township?

There have been various conversations and reports in the past about possible techniques and options for the project, including a proposal for different predator removal methods around the Halfmoon Bay township and one for a fence surrounding the township. No decisions have been made about methods, including a fence. The previous work undertaken is helpful as we head into the future work of considering the technical challenges.

Learn more in Project Documents.

How is the Morgan Foundation involved in this project?

The Morgan Foundation is not currently represented on the Predator Free Rakiura Engagement & Advisory Group (PFREAG). The PFREAG look forward to working with all the trusts, agencies, organisations, and individuals who want to see Predator Free Rakiura become a reality.

Who is leading the work?

Te Puka Rakiura Trust is leading the Predator Free Rakiura Project.

The Engagement & Advisory Group (PFREAG) supports Te Puka Rakiura Trust Board by acting as an advisory group and a connection and conduit with the community. The Engagement & Advisory Group includes 16 representatives from agencies, the Rakiura community, and several groups with hunting, fishing/aquaculture, and business interests. Please reach out to our Engagement & Advisory Group members with questions or concerns. Contact Us here.

The Parties to the Predator Free Rakiura Memorandum of Understanding are: 

  1. Awarua Rūnanga
  2. Oraka-Aparima Rūnanga
  3. Waihōpai Rūnanga
  4. Hokonui Rūnanga
  5. Te Rūnanga o Ngāi Tahu
  6. Rakiura Māori Lands Trust
  7. Rakiura Tītī Islands Administering Body
  8. Rakiura Tītī Committee
  9. Director-General of Conservation, Department of Conservation - Te Papa Atawhai
  10. Southland District Council
  11. Southland Regional Council (Environment Southland)
  12. RealNZ
  13. New Zealand Deerstalkers Association