Pest Free Banks Peninsula receives $5 million funding
The funding will create 15 new jobs and enable predator eradication over large parts of Banks Peninsula and Kaitōrete.
The announcement was made on 9 August at an event on pest-free Ōtamahua/Quail Island in Whakaraupō/Lyttelton Harbour.
Collaborative approach to PFPB vision
The funding agreement was signed by Predator Free 2050 Limited Acting CEO Prof Dan Tompkins and Banks Peninsula Conservation Trust Chair Mark Christensen, on behalf of the 14 organisations signed up to the PFPB vision to be pest-free.
Christensen said: “In November 2018 we agreed to work together as landowners, community groups, iwi, councils and Department of Conservation so that our native plants, birds, animals and insects are flourishing on Banks Peninsula, free from the threats of introduced animal pests.
“Today, the realisation of this vision has taken a significant leap forward.”
Environment Canterbury Chair Jenny Hughey said it was great to see collaborative efforts across the region being supported by central government. Environment Canterbury was also committed to this vision, both financially and philosophically.
“It will benefit many special native species, such as the jewelled gecko, which are threatened with extinction if we do not remove pests.”
Local Ngāi Tahu rūnanga are also strongly engaged in the project and working with the community to restore these sites.
Funding supports eradication focus
The programme will focus on the eradication of possums and suppression of mustelids, rats and feral cats to low levels. Possum and goat numbers on Banks Peninsula have been reduced significantly in recent years and there are many well-established trapping programmes.
Prof Tompkins said that Banks Peninsula was the tenth largest landscape project funded by Predator Free 2050 Limited.
“We now have projects established on the country’s major peninsulas, where geography helps meet the aim of removing predators and protecting from reinvasion. These are important pathfinder investments that enable communities, landowners and iwi to protect and return natural taonga.”
While the PFPB vision covers eradication of pests over the entire 110,000 hectares of the peninsula by 2050, the funding will go towards predator eradication over 23,000 hectares of an extended Wildside area in the south east of the peninsula as well as 5,500 hectares on Kaitōrete. These areas are rich in biodiversity, can be readily defended and scaled up as the project extends in the future.
Pest control efforts by landowners on the south-east Wildside area of Banks Peninsula have already contributed to the recovery of endangered populations of hōiho/yellow-eyed penguins, kororā/little blue penguins and tītī/sooty shearwater. Tūi have also been successfully reintroduced.
Pest Free Banks Peninsula partners
- Banks Peninsula Conservation Trust
- Five Ngāi Tahu rūnanga (Ōnuku Rūnanga, Te Hapū o Ngāti Wheke (Rāpaki) Rūnanga, Te Taumutu Rūnanga, Wairewa Rūnanga, Te Rūnanga o Koukourarata)
- Environment Canterbury
- Rod Donald Banks Peninsula Trust
- Department of Conservation
- Christchurch City Council
- Selwyn District Council
- Summit Road Society
- Living Springs
- The Cacophony Project.