A new chapter in Rakiura/Stewart Island’s predator control story has begun on Oneki, or The Neck, which is land owned and administered by the Rakiura Māori Lands Trust (RMLT).
RMTL's Conservation Manager, Shane Anderson, has been in the predator control business for over 20 years, trapping rats, cats, possums and generally doing his best to protect native species such as the hoiho (yellow-eyed penguin) and tokoeka (kiwi) in the Oneki area over the last two and a half years.
So, when RealNZ began taking passengers from its Discovery Expeditions to Oneki for guided nature walks in July 2020, he grabbed the opportunity to accompany each group.
“His knowledge and stories were so interesting, and the passengers were in awe of the work he is doing,” says RMLT trustee Jill Skerrett.
“These passengers didn’t only leave behind footsteps, they also left enough money in donations to fund 54 rat traps for the Rakiura Māori Lands Trust to further Shane’s work.”
Shane says his preference was to purchase D-Traps, which he had been trialling from a New Zealand company called Envirotools.
“So far, with these traps, I have caught 32 rats using a bait called ‘Blue Smoothie’ which is attractive to rats but not birds.
"I am always looking for the best tools in the war against predators and keen to try new products.”
Eventually, Shane hopes to get more traps, as he says the worst is yet to come.
“If summer conditions are good, and the tucker is there, the rats will breed every 28 days – and one pair of rats can have over 1000 babies in a year.”
For now, though, thanks to these donations he faces his summer predators with a fighting chance. Shane, Jill and the Rakiura Māori Lands Trust are very grateful to the passengers on board these Discovery Expeditions and RealNZ.
Watch Shane explain the work he is doing at Oneki/The Neck on Rakiura below.