National | 1080

Ngāti Pahauwera trap their own pests

In 2015 Ngāti Pahauwera protested against 1080 being dropped in their Mohaka Forest, and today they've realised the vision of doing their own pest management and creating employment for their people. 

"With the programme we've set up we can do it ourselves," says Jim Lewis, Ngāti Pahauwera and owner of Lewis Pest Control.

"The goal is to be able to get the percentage down under five percent in the forest area for this one- with the goal to be able to introduce kiwi into the area later on," says data analyst Sheridan Beer.

Over the last five months they've covered the majority of 12,000 hectares of forestland and will continue the work for the next eight years.

"So far we have recorded around about 5000 possum catches which is pretty low for what we were expecting for the area.  There should've been around about 22,000 that we should've caught by this point but our data is showing that there is just a lower percentage in this forest area than we thought initially," says Beer.

In 2015 Pahauwera protested a planned 1080 drop around the Mohaka Forest and surrounding Kotemāori area and, in response, came up with a plan to do pest eradication themselves.

"Profit's not the goal. it's employing our people.  It's not about how much money you can make it's mostly about our people coming home at night you know- health and safety- that's the main goal, and doing the job properly," says Lewis.

The possums are then on-sold in New Zealand and are predominantly turned into pet food.