• Working together to protect Waiheke Island birds

Waiheke Island is rich in birdlife, and islanders want to keep it that way, by removing predators which disrupt the natural ecosystem and threaten the survival of several species.

When you join us for a guided walk on Waiheke, we’ll explain some of the projects that are part of Te Korowai o Waiheke, an island-wide project that aims to make Waiheke the first urban predator-free island in the world. It’s one of the ambitious large landscape predator control and eradication projects around New Zealand that won funding from Predator Free NZ 2050.

And along the walking trails you’ll see evidence of this work in the form of stoat traps and bait stations, which are managed by local volunteers and you’ll hear from us how we aim to achieve predator-free status and restore the island to its former glory.

The combined effects of introduced predators has resulted in the extinction of 52% of North Island and 47% of South Island birds. And the decline continues at an alarming rate. We can’t reverse extinction, but we can halt the decline of those that remain.
– Te Korowai o Waiheke

An estimated 68,000 native birds are killed in New Zealand by introduced predators every night. The main predators are possums, stoats and rats.

Waiheke is lucky, as possums apparently never made it to the island.

Stoats and rats are a big problem though, and there are currently about 900 rat bait stations around the islands. Local groups look after specific areas. One such group is Friends of Hekerua, which I founded a few years ago. Our volunteers now manage 25 rat bait stations and five stoat traps.

To make Waikehe predator-free, we needed to coordinate our efforts to eliminate stoats and rats, and that’s why Te Korowai o Waiheke was established. The trust receives funding from Auckland Council, Predator-Free 2050 and Foundation North.

The range of a male stoat can be up to 130 hectares (Waiheke Island is 9200 hectares). The damage done to native birds from even one stoat is large, given they need to eat a quarter of their body weight every 24 hours. Stoats have been seen in all areas of the island.

In January 2020, 1700 stoat traps will be placed in a grid across the island. We expect it will take about two years to eradicate stoats on Waiheke, followed by another two years of monitoring before the island can be declared stoat-free.

A project this ambitious will take some time. The more visible signs of success will be seeing taonga species such as kākāriki (parakeet), korimako (bellbird), tīeke (saddleback), toutouwai (robin), weta and geckos dispersing, and recovering their place throughout the island.
– Te Korowai o Waiheke

As for the rats, local volunteers currently target rats in a coordinated effort four times a year – all on the same weekend across the island. We put tracking cards in tracking tunnels first overnight to monitor our current rat population and then we remove those and put out bait for three weeks, after which we remove any remaining bait to reduce environmental load. The reason for doing it quarterly is that rats can become bait-shy.

In late 2020 a rat eradication pilot will be conducted to determine the social and operational methodology required to conduct an island wide rat eradication programme.

Read more about Terra & Tide’s commitment to the environment.

Top photo: Bellbird (Korimako). Sid Mosdell on Flickr

28 November 2019

  • star rating  Really knowledgable local guide and beautiful walk. Local history, geography, flora, fauna and current regeneration projects. Well worth it.

    1 April 2023

    star rating  Excellent four and introduction to Waiheke Island. - Fantastic tour! Walking and hiking with coastal views, and on a trail through the forest. Then an absolutely delicious picnic lunch on the Mudbrick winery estate before a lovely... read more

    3 March 2023

    star rating  Sailing Waiheke with Blue Penguins - My husband and I had such a lovely time touring the islands around Waiheke for our honeymoon! Bruce and Gabrielle were such lovely hosts and we had an amazing time... read more

    11 March 2023
  • star rating  Great Tour of Waiheke Island! - We had most of a day to devote to touring Waiheke island and Gabrielle was an EXCELLENT guide! Very accommodating to our schedule, very knowledgeable about the island, a... read more

    Rick S
    7 March 2023

    star rating  Nydia was a lovely tour guide. The scenery was amazing. We had a tight schedule due to a flight and they modified the tour time to accommodate us. Great people... read more

    Abbey B
    4 March 2023

    star rating  A rewarding hike. - We really appreciated the knowlege of Gabrielle about the island, its history and the flora and fauna of the area. We learned so much about the positve steps NZ... read more

    25 February 2023
  • star rating  Loved our tour with Gabrielle - We really appreciated the knowlege of Gabrielle about the island, its history and the flora and fauna of the area. We learned so much about the positve steps NZ is... read more

    Karen B
    28 March 2023

    star rating  What an amazing experience exploring the beautiful Waiheke Island with Gabrielle, a passionate nature lover with in depth knowledge of the flora and fauna of the island. Gabrielle also... read more

    Anthony N
    11 March 2023

    star rating  Great walk - We took the vineyards and bush walk around Waiheke. I don't really like bus tours and this was a nice option. A little longer walk than advertised but... read more

    6 March 2023
  • star rating  Great time. - The hiking tour we took of Waiheke Island was one of our highlights to the Auckland NZ area. Tyler, our guide was knowledgeable, energetic and FUN! I highly recommend... read more

    29 March 2023

    star rating  Excellent first day in NZ tour of Waiheke. - Having a lunch with my guide on the sandy beach. As it turned out, I was the only guest for the tour time and date I had chosen. ... read more

    Peter B
    9 March 2023

    star rating  A Day on Waiheke Island - We had a wonderful day on Waiheke Island. Our guide, Nydia, was terrific. She was friendly, she told us all about the flora and fauna as well as... read more

    14 March 2023
  • star rating  The perfect way to explore the Hauraki Gulf - We had a fabulous day out on board Pacific Star with skipper Bruce and walking guide Lucie. Can’t think of a better way to explore and learn about the history... read more

    6 March 2023

    star rating  A great day out - I really enjoyed my day out. Lucie was a great guide, offering lots of information about the history of the island and the flora and fauna. The meet and greet... read more

    1 March 2023

    star rating  Relaxed Day - Gabrielle"s wealth of knowledge of the flora and fauna of the island was amazing. Even though the weather meant plans had to change it was a most enjoyable day hiking... read more

    14 March 2023
  • star rating  Sailing - Fab journey, Bruce and Gabrielle great hosts
    Anchored up and swam, not much wind but all good, great food :)

    27 February 2023

    star rating  Perfect day away from the Hustle and Bustle - We really enjoyed the stunning views and bays of Waiheke isl. Tyler guided us during the walk and shared her great knowledge about the beautiful nature. Towards the end of... read more

    6 March 2023

    star rating  Wonderful experience on Waiheke Island! - Although the weather was dull with light rain at the beginning of our hike, our wonderful guide Tyler engaged our attention right away with her knowledge of the flora and... read more

    John M
    26 February 2023
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