The Leadership Group

It is proposed that the Leadership Group drives this project along and is one of the key ways of communicating what is going on to and from the people they are representing.  The board will also make the decisions on how the project will progress and what methods will be used.  It is worth reiterating that, at this stage, no method has been chosen about how to remove any of these predators – this is a decision for the Leadership Group after considering all of the technical advice available.

The obvious question that arises here is: how will one Group get all of the work done?    The answer to this lies with Working Groups.  When there is an issue raised (e.g. how are you going to stop rats re-invading), then a working group will be formed to try to find a solution.  The working group will be chaired by the most relevant Leadership Group member, but can draw in everyone and anyone that it needs to find a solution.  This is another key opportunity for individuals within the community to be involved in helping find solutions to issues that are of concern to them.  When the issue is solved, the working group will report back to the Leadership Group who will make the final decision.

To form the Leadership Group representatives were invited from: Ngāi Tahu, the Stewart Island resident community, business, hunting interests, fishing and aquaculture interests, Rakiura Maori Lands Trust, Rakiura Tītī Committee, Rakiura Tītī Islands Administering Body, Southland District Council, Environment Southland, and DOC.  The members are set out as below:

Sandy KingSandy King  representing the Stewart Island community
I grew up and now live permanently on Stewart Island. I am one of two people selected from the community to act as a “conduit” between the islands’ community and the Leadership Group. I have spent about 14 years in total traveling, living and working in other parts of New Zealand and the world, and am lucky to have spent time on some other amazing islands where there have been eradication projects, and to have gotten to know those islands before and after the eradications. I have witnessed first-hand the short and long term costs and benefits that result. I support the concept of a Predator Free Rakiura, while knowing that this proposal is vastly different to anything that has been done on other islands because of the community here. We have the opportunity now to investigate the feasibility of making Stewart Island / Rakiura predator free. It will be a huge challenge, but the potential benefits are also huge and so make worthwhile the time, energy and resources needed for the project. It is essential that the island community engages in this process, and as a member of the Group I’m happy for them to talk to me, give feedback, and ask questions – they know how to find me!

Gail Thompson – representing Te Rūnanga o Ngāi Tahu

Stewart Bull – representing Rakiura Tītī Committee

Tane Davis – representing Rakiura Tītī Islands Administering Body

Tena Tatou Katoa. Ko Tane Davis toku ingoa.

I am elected by the Rakiura Tītī Islands Administering to be their representative on the Predator Free Rakiura Leadership Group. The Rakiura Tītī Islands Administering Body was formed to administer 18 Tītī Islands returned from the Crown to Rakiura Maori ownership within the Ngai Tahu Settlement.

To be a member on the Group representing Rakiura Maori/ Ngai Tahu Iwi acknowledges the importance and commitment towards the vision for a Predator Free Rakiura. The concept of removing pests from Rakiura will be a huge asset to the Tītī Islands adjacent to Rakiura. At present those islands experience repeated rat incursions, threatening and endangering the flora and fauna. Rakiura is at the heart of being effected by those introduced pests. The Group are made up of various parties, experienced to recognise there are considerable environmental, social, cultural, and economic benefits from the removal of all predators from Rakiura and the surrounding islands.

The Group acknowledge the importance to build positive community relationships, and work together. For a Predator Free Rakiura.

Qualifications: Member and Chair Rakiura Tītī Islands Administering Body, Member and Chair Whenua Hou Komiti, Ngai Tahu Rep Kakapo Recovery Group, Ngai Tahu Rep New Zealand Conservation Authority, Registered member Oraka Aparima Runaka.

Nga mihi. Tane Davis.

Leon Fife – representing Rakiura Maori Lands Trust
The Rakiura Maori Lands Trust (RMLT) administers 105 sq. km of Rakiura on behalf of over 5000 beneficial Maori owners making it the largest private landowner on the island. I have been an RMLT trustee for the past 8 years and during this time my main focus has been land management and in particular, pest eradication and land restoration and it is for this reason I am representing RMLT on the PFR group. Over the past 10 years RMLT have carried out pest control and eradication at The Neck with some remarkable results. We are keen to expand our area of operation but the logistics involved are beyond our means. It therefore makes sense to us to work and collaborate with other stakeholders and hence our strong support for the Predator Free Rakiura project.

I encourage Rakiura Maori to contact me if they have any questions, concerns or suggestions about what the Leadership Group has done so far or could do in the future.

Ma tini ma mano ka rapa te whmailto. (By many, the work (project) will be accomplished)

Ali Meade – representing Environment Southland

I’m the Biosecurity and Biodiversity Operations Manager for Environment Southland. My role at ES is to help protect Southland from harmful species and to look after our indigenous biodiversity. Rakiura is a really special place and I always enjoy my time there, especially when I get a chance to visit amazing places like the Ruggedy Ranges. My background is in ecology and conservation management and I have worked on restoration projects in the UK, Auckland and here in Southland.

The Predator Free Rakiura project is ambitious and challenging. A predator project of this scale has never been tried before so to be successful aims we’ll need to be brave and try new things. I’m confident that by working together we can achieve a great outcome for the environment and economy of Rakiura and Southland.


BruceBruce Halligan – representing Southland District Council
I am a 3rd generation Southlander with 25 years involvement in environmental management and resource management in the Southland context.  I’ve held current position of GM of Environment and Community with the Southland District Council since 2008. I Have tramped most of the established tracks on Rakiura. I’m Married to Denise, with one stepdaughter and one granddaughter. My interests are dogs, rugby league and running.  I am passionate about Rakiura environment and see the potential significant ecological benefits of the proposal but Council is also involved due to the potential for significant economic benefits.  However, obviously Council is keen to ensure that the community is fully involved in all decision making.

Paul_NorrisPaul Norris
 – representing business interests
Paul Norris is the General Manager for Real Journeys. Our company has business interests in Stewart Island through our company Stewart Island Experience. I am passionate on the outdoor environment as well as ensuring areas are run in a sustainable way for long term prospects. Whilst not based on Stewart Island I travel to the area on a semi-regular basis & are well aware of the challenges businesses have operating there through the seasonality nature of the place.

Ray Phillips – representing hunting interests (Southland Branch – New Zealand Deerstalkers Association)

Garry Neave – representing aquaculture and fishing interests
I have lived on Stewart Island since 1953 and am the aquaculture and fishing industry representative on the Rakiura Predator Free Leadership Group. I have fished around Stewart Island since 1967. Fishing activities and biosecurity will be two of the challenging aspects the Group will need to work through. With a commitment from all of us this project will bring benefits to Southland as well as Stewart Island.


Jonathan Thomas – representing Department of Conservation