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 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.
We have divided the work to achieve this vision into five main areas: prepare, secure, restore, protect and thrive.
Tangata whenua and agencies are working hard to protect Rakiura and the surrounding islands in a variety of ways. Learn more below!
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/
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 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/
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/
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.
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.
Some of our achievements include:
- 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.