Protecting Puniho Pā from pests

A willingness to help his Pā has seen Ngā Māhanga hapū member take on a fun role of Pā pest protector.

For the last four months Ray MacDonald (Rangitane, Taranaki Iwi and Te Atiawa) and his daughter Waimirirangi have been regularly monitoring eight rat traps along Matanehunehu Stream next to Puniho Pā in Warea on Highway 45.

“We love spending time at the Pā and thought why not help the Towards Predator-Free Taranaki cause while we’re out there,” says Ray. “We went to our Trustees Hui to see if we could put out some traps and the whanau were all for it!”

So far they’ve caught eight mice, three weasels and three rats.

“Waimirirangi gets excited when we catch something,” says Ray. “She let’s everyone know that she’s protecting her maunga and Pā from pests.”

They also have help from children living on the Pā who love checking the traps.

“We’ll get a text from their pāpā saying, ‘a rat in trap toru.’ It’s hardcase,” says Ray. “All our catches are on trap.nz(external link) so whanau can see how we’re going."

Puniho Pā Secretary Fay Mulligan is pleased to see benefits of this work on a number of levels.

“The mahi being done is something that is for the benefit of our environment and our native species. All whanau are encouraged to support Predator Free Taranaki,” says Fay. “The more we protect our biodiversity the better it will be for bird species, the kai, the habitat and recreational purposes.”

This predator control work compliments a broader biodiversity strategy which includes a large amount of riparian plantings already completed along Matanehunehu Stream and key locations around the Pā.

“The Puniho Pa Trustees, whanau and friends have and will continue to increase riparian planting. We already have around 600 plants along Matanehunehu and other locations like Komene Reservation where we have over 40,000 plants,” says Fay. “All this work is enhancing the region’s biodiversity.”

Towards Predator-Free Taranaki Project Manager Toby Shanley is grateful to Puniho Pā and all marae across the region who are supporting the region-wide initiative, helping native wildlife and plants by removing rats, possums and stoats.

“Collectively every catch made is another step closer to having more native birds and restoring the health of our native flora and fauna,” says Toby. “It’s great to hear families are getting right behind this work.”

Ray agrees. “Checking traps is fun. I’m with my girl and we both know we’re helping to protect an area that is special to us.”

Would you like traps for your marae or backyard?

Find out more here https://trc.govt.nz/environment/working-together/pf-taranaki2050/(external link)

Or call Taranaki Regional Council on 0800 736 222 or email pftaranaki@trc.govt.nz.