The village will raise it!

Born 14 September 2019 – The village will now raise it!!

We had a fantastic launch on 14 September at the Napier Soundshell.

Well over 700 people through and everything gone by 3pm (2pm start time).

However, as totally awesome as that was, I knew this was just the beginning.

We need 5000 or more traps in the community to start making an impact, and although I’m confident we can deliver those traps/tunnels, the kaitiaki rests with the communities of Hawke’s Bay.

PFUHB is an enabling organisation.

We’re looking to take the pain points from people to get more closely involved in their community and connect with Biodiversity in general; trapping rats, though not the obvious starting point, has proven across the country to be a great way to achieve this.

We aim to take care of funding, materials, sponsorship, tunnel design, trap choice (s) and trapping strategy as well as providing a base network for socialisation and acceptance of a Predator Free status for Urban Hawke’s Bay. How cool is that!

We also aim to have local communities create their own flavour – because we’re all different and one size doesn’t fit all.

However, it takes a village – actually it will take 100’s of villages – to raise this ‘baby’ (and put an end to Rat babies)

Too good not to post – taken last weekend whilst walking Te Mata

As a rough summary of some of the great stuff that has happened since launch (not complete by any means):

Jervoistown has been the quickest community to assemble and engage at a very high level. I hope to have over 100 tunnels/traps on the ground within the next 3 weeks. This has been a tremendous initiative led by Julie Thomas and supported by ‘a village’ (I will do a separate post on Jervoistown in coming weeks)

Havelock North, through the initiative of Michelle Hicks and Paul Terry, is underway with planning their launch for early November. We aim to have at least 400 tunnels and traps to issue and with the enthusiasm and support of Carl Vose at Havelock High School and others they now have the means to achieve it.

Tim McVeagh from Pirimai put up his hand to help build tunnels and help co-ordinate that region – in addition to stepping into the breach the very next day to help me knock out another 250 kits.

Tim Race is ready to run a group in Onekawa and has already had each of his class assemble a tunnel.

Ros Stewart and Lyndsey Swann have thrown in their support to rally people in part of the Bluff Hill area.

Sharelle Creswell at Top 10 Holiday Park in Hastings is hoping to start a community around her area once through a busy schedule.

I have similar offers from Haumoana and Taradale and several other areas around the hill in Napier – and trust me if I haven’t caught up to you, or got back to you – I’m trying!

I have several schools already engaged – and for me these are the most exciting and rewarding of visits.

It’s a blast!

However, we can’t have too many volunteers and in particular we need people to act as a hub within their community and coordinate maybe 50 or 100 traps (most of it remotely – nudging emails, connecting with PFUHB for more materials etc.). It’s not hard work – in fact I pretty much guarantee you will find it very rewarding.

Please connect if you would like to get involved – in particular in the Hastings area.

What’s next?

We aim to have a launch in Havelock North – probably the 9th November – final details t.b.a.

A launch in Hastings at the end of November – final details t.b.a.

We are moving to a redesigned tunnel and more trap selections (base model free, other ones at a cost to user)

Tumu timber are moving into a specialised production phase for us and we expect to be able to hit 1500 tunnels out in the community by year end.

The database from the Napier launch has been punched in thanks to Sue Calcinai from Redcliffe homestead this week and I encourage everyone to now register join our group and load their trap and catches – it’s all we ask for making the tunnel and trap free.

Generally where are we going?

Stage 1 Make traps available.

Stage 2 Engage communities across the bay to embrace and care for the use of those traps.

Stage 3 Educate people in their use and make trapping predators as common and accepted as mowing the lawn (probably make it more accepted and more fun).

Stage 4  Communities celebrate a new connectedness and shape their own biodiverse future, with new vigour and understanding

In some places we haven’t got to stage one in other places (Jervoistown) we’re at stage 4 already!

If we haven’t got to your community yet – we’re coming – or simply invite us in.

If you (by ‘you’ we mean a community of 20 or more people who want to get a programme underway) and can’t wait, then you’ll make our day – let us know and we’ll see what we can fast track things in your direction.

Thanks for all your support thus far – and remember if you have a trap – apart from baiting and monitoring it – the best thing you can do is encourage your neighbors and friends to get on board too.

Remember Rats are like sesame seeds in a colander – until we close all the holes they just run straight through.

Come on neighbor join the fun…

Success with our first working bee

Less than 2 weeks to public launch – so it was time we put together the essential “give away”.

First layer of 6 (and a few more)

With a small but dedicated team – a neighbour, the father of 2 mates I employed over 30 years ago, Regional council Candidate Martin Williams, a good friend and retired lawyer, my oldest daughter and a whole bunch of Scouts and cubs from Mahora scouts group we managed to knock out 230 Trap tunnels.

Some of the Mahora Scouts – and my daughter Olive in the Hi-viz! – hard at work

Hawke’s Bay Regional Council generously made available their Rural Pest Control building (Big ups to Allan Beere and Campbell Leckie for their support) – and after a few mis-steps we had a system going which was knocking out 50 tunnels an hour over the final 3 hours.

The best part was every single person involved left with a smile on their face – and indicated they wanted to do more. I am so grateful for everyone who has been involved and it was a great omen for the launch – 2pm the Sound Shell Marine Parade, Napier.

As I said -everyone looking happy with their effort!

Please note – we will follow through with similar events in Hastings and Havelock North soon, but don’t let that stop you swinging by, getting a trap and tunnel on the 14th of September, and getting underway.

Thanks for the great mahi everyone.

Richard

A walk in the park

Today I met with the very knowledgeable and enthusiastic Tony Oliver (formerly Auckland Southern Regional Parks Manager) and we discussed predator control  and biodiversity in general.

Tony lives adjacent to Maggie’s Way – an area that astounded me with it’s potential – and I confess prior to this visit I didn’t even know about it.

A small section of Maggies Way – not the best photo’s but i wanted to show what a positive impact even a small ribbon of planting could have in enhancing the environment for both people and species – this is biodiversity folks!

The moderately sized ribbons of young trees (mainly, but not all natives) supported a healthy population of Tui, Bellbirds, Fantails, Kingfishers, though strangely missing were Pukeko.

Tony has been successfully trapping rats on his property/bush and as we walked evidence of rats and or mustelids was aplenty – another pointer that only doing control in isolated pockets is an uphill battle, but you gotta start somewhere, right!

Headless Tui – Yes, a Headless Tui

As mentioned previously many people are in denial about the predators that are around. This was only a short walk (20 minutes at most) and apart from being somewhat concerned about the appropriateness of some of the plantings the real shock was finding this headless Tui which I would estimate had been dead less than 48 hours.

This is our own back yard, and it’s happening every day, everywhere, and it’s why we need to get underway.

The Tui has probably lost its head while protecting its nest and eggs.

As a brief update I now have materials for building tunnels and over 500 traps waiting for homes. I’m expecting to co-ordinate a day to prepare and assemble tunnel materials – at this stage looking like September 1st, with the public launch to be held at the Soundshell on September 14th from 12pm onwards.

Please distribute this post as far and wide as you can and email me – richard@predatorfreeuhb.com – directly if you can assist with either cutting and assembling tunnels on September 1st or for distribution of traps and tunnels and general promotion of PFUHB on the 14th.