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Protecting the Pekapeka

Ngāti Kearoa Ngāti Tuara - environmental team

Predator control isn’t just about setting traps and hoping for the best—it’s a journey filled with research, dedication, and heartfelt planning. We go above and beyond to safeguard our whenua’s treasures.

Before we place a single trap, our project teams embark on a mission to understand the heartbeat of our land and what it takes for its treasures to thrive. Our Environmental Manager, Kataraina and her team, Izaiah Kiel and Kyle Kiel, are driven by a passion for protecting the long-tailed pekapeka.

In the 2019/20 monitoring, the discovery of a long-tailed pekapeka colony became a turning point. Our project team rallied, focusing their efforts on the 1,427-hectare home of the pekapeka, strategically placing traps and bait stations.

This summer, the dedication continues as more pekapeka monitors are carefully placed. Kataraina George, the Environment Manager of Te Rūnanga o Ngāti Kearoa Ngāti Tuara, shares the heartfelt goal: to uncover the secrets of our sacred whenua, to give our pekapeka the best chance at thriving.

“We initially identified long-tailed pekapeka in about 50% of our monitoring area. This summer, we have put out 39 recorders and most of these are in new monitoring areas to confirm if pekapeka are in other areas of the maunga, but also see if we can identify any roosting sites.”

The team focuses on feral cats, rats, and stoats, understanding their profound impact on our pekapeka. Winter intensifies the need for protective measures due to torpor-induced immobilisation and the vulnerable breeding season.

“Knowing where the taonga are will help us focus our project and give the pekapeka a better chance of surviving and thriving”

“We’d like to acknowledge Rebecca Stirnemann (Conservation Ecologist) and Waikato Regional Council, for their help and support in this mahi, without them, we would not be able to carry out this type of monitoring”