Kākāpō Stella-2-B-19. Photo - Jake Osborne CC BY-NC-SA 2.0

The Project

Predator Free Rakiura

If we are successful, Predator Free Rakiura will be the world's largest inhabited island predator eradication project.

Iwi, government, business, organisations, and community representatives have been working together since 2014 to progress this kaupapa. Te Puka Rakiura Trust is now leading the design and planning of this eradication project with the support of the Engagement & Advisory Group, which provides a consultative connection between the trust and the community. 

Our Predator Free Rakiura Vision

Our Predator Free Rakiura vision is to grow Rakiura as a taonga by working collaboratively towards a predator-free Rakiura that allows ecosystems and community to thrive and benefit from each other. Only together can our vision become a reality. A predator removal project of this complexity, on an island of this scale, has never been attempted.

The proposal is to remove rats (Norway, Ship and kiore), possums, feral cats and hedgehogs from Rakiura and its islands, as these predators eat or compete with wildlife and damage the forest. Mice do not appear to have established on Rakiura, and we plan to keep it that way, while deer are not in scope for Predator Free Rakiura.


Learn more

Did you know...
  • Pet cat

    Pets are not in scope for remo...

Our values
  • Collaboration and co-operation
  • Constructive, proactive and inclusive dialogue
  • Fostering diversity and innovation
  • Commitment and integrity
  • Opportunity for contribution and valuing of input
  • Shared leadership and solution design
  • Compassion for all affected
Our principles
  • honouring our cultural history: “Mo tatou, a, mo ka uri a muri ake nei” – for us and for generations to come
  • linking our predator-free vision to environmental, social, cultural and economic benefits
  • harnessing existing knowledge and working alongside the latest science and technology
  • sustainable solutions that are beneficial to both ecosystem and community
  • willingness to share systems and solutions with other places and communities

The Plan

We have divided the work to achieve this vision into five main areas: prepare, secure, restore, protect and thrive. 

2020 2020

Prepare for the work ahead


Secure Rakiura against rats, possums, feral cats and hedgehogs


Restore Rakiura’s wildlife treasures. Let’s bring home kākāpō!


Protect from threats by working together


Rakiura is a nature haven with sustainable community and nature intertwined

Tangata whenua and agencies supporting Predator Free Rakiura

Tangata whenua and agencies are working hard to protect Rakiura and the surrounding islands in a variety of ways. Learn more below!

Te Rūnanga o Ngāi Tahu

Ngāi Tahu are Tangata Whenua of Rakiura / Stewart Island and the surrounding islands, a majority of these are Tītī Islands. Whanau have a strong, culturally significant historical and ongoing connection with these islands.  Rakiura Maori participate each year with the cultural harvest of Tītī.  By restoring and protecting Rakiura, the cultural harvest of mahinga kai and matauranga will enhance sustainability of these cultural practices. Rakiura Maori, practising Kaitiakitanga, have achieved 70% of their islands to be now pest free. By protecting Rakiura and all its surrounding islands, creating a safe habitat for existing, and threatened taonga species. For our generations to come, we will return the Mauri to Rakiura / Stewart Island.


More information: https://ngaitahu.iwi.nz/

Environment Southland

As a regional council, Environment Southland is responsible for the sustainable management of Southland's natural resources - land, water, air and coast - in partnership with the community. Rakiura / Stewart Island is part of the Southland Region. 


More information: https://www.es.govt.nz/

Southland District Council

Southland District Council is the territorial authority responsible for representing the district, developing and approving Council policy, deciding on expenditure and funding requirements, monitoring Council performance and employing the chief executive. Its role not only encompasses the management and improvement of physical assets such as roads and bridges, but also leading and enabling the Southland District communities' social, economic, cultural and environmental wellbeing. The Council’s vision is: “One community offering endless opportunities”, and this encompassed far more than just infrastructure.


More information: https://www.southlanddc.govt.nz/

Department of Conservation

The Department of Conservation is the government agency charged with conserving New Zealand's natural and historic heritage including protecting New Zealand's biodiversity and ecosystems on behalf of New Zealanders. They aim to work in partnership with others to grow conservation efforts. 

See more about the detail of DOC's projects within and around Rakiura on our map.

More information: https://www.doc.govt.nz/


Progressing the Predator Free Rakiura Vision

The concept of a Predator Free Rakiura has been alive for a long time, and many people are interested in achieving this for different reasons, whether it be the obvious environmental benefits to our wildlife and forest health or the social and economic benefits which include providing the Rakiura community with additional meaningful employment, infrastructure opportunities, and strengthening a niche, high end nature tourism industry.

Culturally, a healthy Rakiura would be a wonderful legacy for our children and is kaitiakitanga in action. 

Three different types of groups are responsible for overseeing the project: governance; project management and delivery; and, community representatives. With people of many different backgrounds, perspectives and ideas, working together to lead the project, our planning will be stronger and more representative of the people involved and affected.

Please reach out to our Engagement & Advisory Group members to share any thoughts or feedback. Contact us here.

No one entity is responsible, only together will a Predator Free Rakiura be possible. 

Some of our achievements include:

  • The employment of a Project Director for Predator Free Rakiura.
  • The establishment of Te Puka Rakiura Charitable Trust.
  • Multi-year funding from the Department of Conservation secured to enable the project to move to the next phase – trials and design.
  • Memorandum of Understanding signed, confirming the commitment of thirteen organisations to progress the Project
  • Investigations into a Predator Free Halfmoon Bay, the only township on Rakiura, as a big step towards the full project area of mainland Rakiura and surrounding islands. Find out more in project documents.
  • Completion of a Social Impact Assessment exploring the geographical, ecological and social context for Rakiura and the potential social effects of Predator Free Rakiura.
  • Obtaining funding from the Provincial Growth Fund and hiring a Rakiura-based Project Manager to support the project.
  • Monthly activities with Rakiura's Halfmoon Bay School.
  • Development of a Participation Action Plan which includes a suite of actions and recommendations to enhance participation and further build contributions towards making Predator Free Rakiura a reality. The underlying principles of this plan are:

- To proactively build diverse collaboration

- To create live and positive interface with all affected by our work

- To expand reach and participation to build long term commitment and support

- To demonstrate and communicate progress on the predator free goals

The reality is we are just at the start of a challenging and exciting journey towards a Predator Free Rakiura. In the medium term we are looking to secure funding and technical resources.

See current work underway
  • Unfurling fronds Rakiura Track Stewart Island credit B Maryns

    Map of predator control work o...

Only together can our vision become a reality