Waiheke Island Predator free by 2025

“Help us fill in the map! We know that at least 30% of Waiheke land is already under some level of rat control, but also that many more people are doing rat and stoat control on their own land. If you are controlling rats or other pest animals please email waihekecollective@gmail.com and tell us your address and what control you are doing, and we will add you to the map.”

Community activity map



Our goal is for Waiheke Island to be free of mustelids (stoats, ferrets, weasels) and rats by 2025. 

Predator Free Waiheke is the culmination of many people’s vision to protect and restore the vulnerable native species (e.g. North Island kaka, grey-faced petrel, little blue penguin) that already call Waiheke home, in the first instance, by eradicating the key two predators remaining on the island. 

Waiheke Island represents an unparalleled opportunity for predator eradication over a diverse landscape of communities and natural environments. It will have a far-reaching profile both within NZ and internationally as it would be one of the first populated islands to become predator free.

Our goal is ambitious but achievable, and will be made possible by the all-inclusive collaboration of groups and individuals on Waiheke and key project partners. The significant existing efforts of the Waiheke community to protect its native flora and fauna through many community stoat and rat control projects provides confidence that we can achieve this goal. Predator Free Waiheke is about connecting all of these projects together with an island wide management programme.

Waiheke’s predator free goals have recently received a welcome boost in national profile and an opportunity to secure large scale funding. Predator Free Waiheke is one of seven projects (and the only project from Auckland) selected to provide a full project proposal for funding consideration by Predator Free 2050 Ltd in early 2018.


Why stoats and rats?

Our Government has an ambitious goal to rid New Zealand of possums, rats and stoats by 2050. On Waiheke, we aim to fast forward the ultimate goal of PF2050, by creating one of, if not the largest, predator free island with a high human population adjacent to NZ’s largest city, by 2025. 

Our collective group aims to protect and restore the vulnerable native species that already call Waiheke home, in the first instance, by eradicating the key two predators remaining on the island. 

Predators on Waiheke are already low. 

  • Waiheke is already possum free. 
  • There is a low stoat population.  We already have active mustelid control over at least 20% of the island and research by  Andrew Veale in 2013 indicated that the Waiheke stoat has a unique DNA and leading him to theorise that there is no current reinvasion.
  • At least 30% of Waiheke land is already under some level of rat control

Additional Info

Mustelid control Pilot

In 2016/17 Hauraki Gulf Conservation Trust received funding from Auckland Council and Department of Conservation to run a pilot mustelid control project on Waiheke. 

This project was the first step in achieving Waiheke’s predator free aspirations. An initial 'proof of concept' landscape scale project that includes people's backyards as well as areas of coast, forest and wetlands was seen as a good way of understanding what it actually takes on the ground to implement an intensive pest control programme.

The Pilot was undertaken from October 2016 to April 2017, with 68 landowners participating in the initial project, including Council, commercial properties, large and small private landowners. The project area covered central Waiheke - Whakanewha to Onetangi.

A field team of team of six trappers was recruited and trained for this project and were responsible for grid layout and checking the network of traps. 

Project area map

The Waiheke Collective will be reopening the mustelid control grid in 2018 as part of efforts to eradicate mustelids from the island. The Waiheke Collective has received funding towards operational costs of the mustelid control program from Auckland Councils’ Regional Environmental and Natural Heritage Fund (RENH).