Restore Kaitake

Restoring Kaitake to its natural state

Kaitake residents are leading the country by supporting an eradication project restoring local biodiversity.

It’s the first time on mainland New Zealand that eradication of possums has been tried on urban, rural and conversation land.

Perfect honeymoon removing possums in a New Zealand 1st

A new married couple are spending their honeymoon removing possums in New Zealand’s first large-scale possum eradication operation, as part of Towards Predator-Free Taranaki. Newly-weds Andrea and Max Hoegh say they’re happily spending their honeymoon working with Oākura residents and Restore Oakura, to help eradicate possums in the coastal Taranaki town. “We just love the native wildlife and plants here so much, we couldn’t think of a better place to be – it’ll be the perfect honeymoon,” says Mr Hoegh, who’s admits to working a little on the zero-possum operation on his wedding day earlier this month. Their work is part of a New Zealand-first, multi-faceted operation to reduce possums to zero density across about 8,600 hectares, on urban, farm and conservation land between the Timaru Stream and Oākura River, below Carrington road, to the coast. The couple’s urban zero-possum work has been underway since October 2018, already catching almost 200 possums in Oākura, but they only returned to the beach side town today (Friday 25 January) after celebrating their wedding in Ireland, where the bride hails from. They’ve been working in the zero possum area, for Taranaki Regional Council, together with Oākura locals, community groups, Taranaki Mounga Project and Taranaki Regional Council, as part of Towards Predator-Free Taranaki. However, the newly-wed couple are calling on Oākura residents to help eradicate possums - reporting any suspected possums in the area to them 24/7 on 0800 736 222 “We can’t do this by ourselves. We need residents’ eyes and ears to report any suspected possum sightings, sounds or signs of this predator,” Mrs Hoegh says. The good-natured bride says she is happy to receive calls anytime 24/7 from the public to help get rid of possums. Read more about the possum eradication area: If you live in New Plymouth district find out how to get a trap in your backyard:

Posted by Towards Predator-Free Taranaki on Thursday, 24 January 2019


Restore Kaitake is a joint effort between Towards Predator-Free Taranaki and Taranaki Mounga Project, as well as local landowners, residents and conservation groups.


Launched in 2018, it was a New Zealand-first as it set out not to simply control possum numbers but to eradicate them from a 4,500 hectare area including 2,300 hectares of the Kaitake Range, 2,000 hectares of Kaitake farmland and Oākura town.

With rivers acting as natural barriers on either side of this “zero possum” zone, the main highway for possums to enter is through a strip of forest at Pukeiti. There we have set up a “virtual barrier” to stop incursions. Remote reporting traps have been placed every 10m in four lines – using a total of 1300 traps.  

Other tools and technologies we’ve used include cameras, possum detection dogs, thermal imaging monoculars and a “lean detection network” of about 180 traps within the Kaitake Range itself.

Two years on and we are extremely close to the zero possum target. Read project manager Toby Shanley's latest update here.

The Kaitake and Oākura community won a 2019 Taranaki Environmental Award for Environmental Action in the Community, highlighting residents’ outstanding efforts to control predators and restore native biodiversity by working together.

Seen or heard a possum in the Oākura-Kaitake area?

We want to know! Please report it by calling 0800 736 222 or go to


What is Trap.NZ?

If you’re trapping at home, register with the online database Trap.NZ, via its website or app. Then record all your catches and also your trap checks (even when nothing has been caught). This makes Trap.NZ a source of valuable data tracking the region’s efforts and identifying gaps.

Visit Trap.NZ website(external link)