Feasibility studies on options for the Predator Free Rakiura Halfmoon Bay Project are now out for the Stewart Island/Rakiura community to consider.
The Predator Free Rakiura Governance Group has published three technical reports covering options for predator removal, details of a proposed predator fence, and biosecurity requirements to keep the island predator-free. A summary paper has also been published providing a concise overview of the three technical reports and indicative costs of the project, and touching on possible key issues.
Predator Free Rakiura Governance Group member and Stewart Island resident Sandy King says the scenarios discussed in the reports represent an assessment of the most likely to succeed and realistic options for the removal of predators from the Halfmoon Bay Project area and are designed to stimulate discussion among all communities of interest and stakeholder groups.
“None of the options in the technical reports are set in stone – no decisions have yet been made. These reports have been prepared to support public discussion and are by no means a final project plan,” Sandy said.
“Members of the Governance Group care deeply about this special place and realise that achieving our vision is only possible if all the communities involved also commit to making it a reality.”
The Governance Group is holding drop-in sessions on October 5-6 at the Stewart Island Community Centre. Sessions will run from 2pm to 5pm and 7pm to 10pm on 5 October, and 9am-12 noon on 6 October. Authors of the reports will be attending to answer questions and listen to feedback.
Anyone who can’t make these sessions can ask questions and make comments on the Q&A page of the Predator Free Rakiura website, or talk to any Governance Group members.
At the same time discussions are beginning on the island, the Governance Group will canvas the views of other communities with an interest in Rakiura via newsletters, meetings and email, and encourage them to read the reports and provide feedback.
Copies of the reports can be obtained from the Four Square supermarket on Stewart Island, or downloaded from the Predator Free Rakiura website.Get the reports
Governance Group members:
Sandy King 03 2191102 after 4pm or 0278679011
Jill Skerrett 03 219 1069 or 03 219 1417
The idea of making Rakiura predator-free has been around for many years. This project is exploring how the community can work towards this goal. The community is leading the project, with advice and support from the Department of Conservation (DOC).
The indicative project cost is estimated to be between $11 million and $32 million. This figure will depend on the size of the project area and predator removal methods, which are both factors the community will have input into. It also depends on research to determine the density of bait stations or traps for the three rodent species present on Stewart Island.
The project is currently funded by DOC and the Morgan Foundation, and the Governance Group is investigating future funding options, including ongoing costs.
These reports focus on the first step of the project – predator elimination around Halfmoon Bay. If successful, the second step will be predator elimination of the rest of the island.
Predators to be eliminated will be rats, possums, feral cats and hedgehogs.
The Governance Group is made up of representatives from communities and organisations that share an interest (be it cultural, legal and/or a personal connection) in Stewart Island including local residents, Ngāi Tahu, Tīitī Islanders and the Rakiura Māori Land Trust, Southland District Council, Environment Southland, fishers, hunters and business owners.
The technical content in these reports was developed by a group of practitioners with experience in removing predators from islands and mainland islands around New Zealand and overseas. This group included representatives from Environment Southland, DOC, independent contractors and local technical expertise from Stewart Island. Independent technical peer review was also undertaken by reviewers from three different organisations and represents some of the most highly regarded expertise in this field.