Celebrating Trapping Heroes

As we turn 15, we want to say thank you and give back to some of the people that have been on this journey with us.

Celebrating Trapping Heroes.

As we turn 15, we want to say thank you and give back to some of the people that have been on this journey with us.

 

 

Your complete trapping solution

Karen and Bob Schumacher
Abel Tasman Birdsong Trust
Lisa Whittle
Dr. Stanley Mulvany
Holdsworth Restoration Trust
Jake Grundling
Pure Salt
Jean Stanley
Mike Fisk
Janet Wilson
Debs Martin
Blue Duck Station
Hollyford Conservation Trust
Tamahere Restoration Trust
Mike Butcher

15 years of community trapping

For over a decade we have been able to make a difference in conservation and contribute to the biodiversity and resilience of our native flora and fauna. As we near 2021, our mission hasn’t changed: we want to see a pest free New Zealand. Thanks to each and every one of you who have installed a trap, what we have achieved is astonishing.
 
Goodnature started with two friends - who met while studying product design at university. Craig and Robbie set out to shake up the traditional way of trapping to really make a dent in the booming pest populations, and give New Zealand’s native species a fighting chance against invasive predators. The Goodnature team set out to solve the problem of labour intensive trapping methods by designing the world’s first self-resetting trap: the A24.
 
15 years on, the automatic, self-resetting, toxin-free trap is a tool widely used by community groups and backyard trappers alike to get on top of their pest problem. With pest free environments, the dream to see once endangered species in our backyards can be a reality.
 
As we turn 15, we want to say thank you and give back to some of the people that have been on this journey with us. So we’ve gifted 15 A24 traps with Chirp to 15 community groups across the county who’re doing amazing work for the environments they care about.
 
We wanted to share the stories of these amazing people and the incredible work they're doing. We are so proud to be a part of this adventure... and it’s just the beginning!

 

Karen and Bob Schumacher

 
When Karen and Bob discovered kiwi on their 197-hectare Inglewood farm, they knew they had a responsibility to protect them. Kiwi are a part of their community and wanted to see them thrive, breed and grow alongside natives, cows and animals that call this area home. Soon, the community started talking about “their” kiwi and how they could help look after the bush to give these birds the best chance of survival.
 
In 2005, Karen and Bob founded East Taranaki Environmental Trust (ETET) and since then have been pillars in the conservation community as examples of how farmers and landowners can support their environment and contribute to predator control. Northeast of Mount Taranaki, about 30 kilometres east of Inglewood, ETET has become one of the largest volunteer environment schemes in New Zealand with over 13,000 hectares of active predator control.
 

‘Locals, locals, locals. Community support would have to be the biggest success of this project,’ - Karen Schumacher

Over the lifetime of the trust more and more neighbours and locals have committed to making the region a haven for kiwi and a hub of biodiversity. The trust recognises the need for ecosystem management in their landscape and knows that the breeding and thriving of kiwis depends on humans being the caretakers/kaitiaki of the land.

The East Taranaki kiwi population has been rising steadily since the Schumachers began this work, and we know that without their commitment and passion for the land and its inhabitants, kiwis in this area wouldn’t have stood a chance. We are proud to call Karen and Bob friends of Goodnature and we can’t wait to see what the trust does next with the incredible leadership of these legendary conservationists.

 

Abel Tasman Birdsong Trust

 
The Abel Tasman Birdsong Trust was established in 2007 with the vision of bringing birdsong back to the park. They wanted to delight and inspire the visitors with their work, so set off to rid the area of predators . Everyday, rain or shine, you’ll encounter volunteers out trapping, tree planting and maintaining their piece of paradise, and the results are astonishing!

10-15 years ago, you used to walk through the park in silence, stripped of the friendly call of natives. Nowadays, the park is alive with the calls of kaka, toutouwai, tieke and other native birds, flying from across Adele Island and the coastal park. Adele Island has become predator free thanks to the amazing work of the trust and their volunteers.

Alongside maintaining a trapping network of more than 1100 traps, the Trust is felling and controlling the propagation of the wild pines ravaging the park. The invasive pines had taken over the park, pushing native populations away and taking over the view. Shortly after beginning their predator control efforts, the trust set out to eliminate them and restore the rich native ecosystem: planting native trees to provide food and shelter for local species of birds and insects.

As well as the contribution of volunteers, the Abel Tasman Birdsong Trust receives support from commercial operators within the park, and support from DOC Motueka. With the amazing work they are doing, we can be confident that we will continue to hear the birds singing for years to come.

 

Lisa Whittle

 
When it comes to trapping to protect our native species, Lisa Whittle can not be overlooked. She is incredibly passionate and driven in her quest to see whio, kiwi and our other beautiful natives flourish, as well as bringing the community along with her on the journey.
 
Lisa started trapping with her husband 8 years ago, when she found out that a piece of DOC land was at risk of losing fundings due to lack of support for trapping in this remote area of the Ruahine. Lisa and Geoff stepped up to the plate and are still walking and rebaiting the trap lines that keep the predator population low along 16km of trap lines. Lisa has been fortunate enough to see the whio population rise thanks to the amazing mahi they are doing.

Lisa has also been a huge part of Polhill Protectors in Wellington’s Aro Valley. When she moved from Tasmania with her husband over 25 years ago, she realised Polhill was a truly special place. After seeing a then rare tui, they realised how precious Polhill was and set out to clear the area with locals’ help. The changes they have seen are miraculous and could not have been achieved without their dedication and hard work alongside the Polhill Protectors.

As well as her incredible work in the Ruahine, Lisa also leads the Mauri Oho Project, spreading her wealth of knowledge with anyone keen to make a difference for conservation in their part of the world. Lisa’s willingness to help is exemplary and so is her commitment to the community and her kindness. She is a true trapping and conservation hero and we are very lucky to know and work alongside Lisa.

 

Dr. Stanley Mulvany

 
Dr. Stanley Mulvany is a retired doctor, mountaineer, writer and conservationist in Fiordland. He has been working tirelessly towards conservation efforts in the deep South since 2012, starting an initiative with the New Zealand Alpine Club to establish a conservation program in the Homer-Gertrude and Bowen Valleys. His project has grown to over 120 traps, and is checked regularly by volunteers from the Southland Tramping club, the Fiordland Tramping and Outdoor Recreation Club, Permolat Southland and until last year the Hokonui TC.

The conservation project in these Valleys, was vindicated in a recent study about the impact of invasive predators on Rockwren breeding. The research showed an increase in breeding success for the Rockwren , and proved that the amazing work done by Dr. Mulvany and the volunteers makes a huge difference to native wildlife.

Dr. Stanley Mulvany has also been contracted on a voluntary basis to establish trap lines around Deep Cove for the Deep Cove Education Trust. They have managed to cut 6 trap lines and install 105 traps in the hills surrounding the project , and this year open up a track into the Lyvia Valley from the Wilmot Pass road.

“[It was] was pretty obvious to me for a long time that nature and biodiversity were declining. I could see that we were losing our native endemic species, not to mention our wild places from the impacts of introduced mammalian predators and human encroachment.” - Dr. Stanley Mulvany

A dedicated trapper, Dr. Mulvany has been paramount in the conservation of this beautiful part of New Zealand. The success of the projects he has worked on is a testament to his groups’ hard work and determination. A true gem in the South.

 

Holdsworth Restoration Trust

 
The Holdsworth Restoration Trust is a group of keen trappers, ready to make a difference to their big backyard by trapping and controlling pests. Their current project; the Atiwhakatu Trapping Project, had an interesting beginning, with an Australian man keen to leave a legacy in the Holdsworth Area. He gifted the trust with a generous donation to kick start the project, allowing DOC Masterton and volunteers to put out an initial 421 A24 traps.
 
Their goal is to control rats in an area of about 1000ha around Donnelly Flat and deploy 150-200 traps a year. Using government funding and donations, the Trust hopes to make a huge difference to the ecology and biodiversity of this area.

"We have volunteers from local schools, tramping clubs, from the Wairarapa and from Wellington, with the 6 monthly servicing requirements everyone is able to fit servicing a line into their busy life." - Nigel Boniface

The Holdsworth Restoration Trust is built on the generosity and kindness of the people that are part of it. From volunteers to trustees, everyone wants to see their efforts rewarded by an increase in bird population and biodiversity. At Goodnature, we think these guys are incredible for all of the efforts and time they put into our common goal of a pest free New Zealand.

Jake Grundling

When contacted about the project, Jake wrote a beautiful piece that sums up his experience in trapping and with our traps. He says it better than we could so here it is.
 
Accidental conservation

Honestly, we never set out to start a community conservation group. In our early days it was pretty much, go out at night, see a possum, shoot a possum, cup of tea, bed. It was simple stuff and there were no delusions of being the next David Attenborough. But almost without realising it we started taking steps to making a real difference in our valley.

Our first foray into community conservation mimicked that of most groups and so our tools and practices were based on standard suburban trapping. But we soon realised that being rural we needed more than the standard community trapping approach. In a nutshell our problem was our backyards, we have some really BIG backyards. And with most members having full time jobs outside the valley a secondary issue was also time. For a bit this was a hurdle we had no answer for.

Then in early 2017 a random google search about possum traps brought up a company called Goodnature. Now don't get me wrong, our early single kill trap network was doing the job, but in reality we lacked the pressure of continual suppression, especially in our hard to reach areas, and it was all too easy to say yeah nah when the Southerly blew just a little bit colder that day. So on the 14th of May 2017 our first A12 test trap went up, followed up a few days later with a second. And it just grew from there.

And so after three and a bit years, and almost 5500 pests later we're finally seeing a valley where Kererū, Kākā and even Kārearea are more than just a rare and fleeting sight. Of the 200 odd traps in our network the effect of our A12 possum and A24 stoat/rat traps can't be overstated. Having over 70 strategically placed automatic traps keeping watch over our natives means that every now and then when that Southerly starts blowing a little bit colder, I don't feel so guilty when I opt for the warm cuppa.

But the fight is not over. On the horizon we see Kiwi making a return and we have our part to play there too. With our trap numbers ever on the increase and our time seemingly doing the reverse, we've embraced new technology like the A24's Chirp cap to speed up our trap checks. It might seem like a fancy gimmick, but when your quad is on a 40 degree slope and a surprise downpour just hit, well then it's pure magic.

Personally I can't wait to see what rolls off the development line next. Making this beautiful country predator free will be achieved with hard work, determination and innovation, and if Goodnature's kiwi ingenuity is anything to go by then I look forward to raising a cup to them in 2050.

Happy Birthday! From everyone at Pest Free South Mākara!
 

Pure Salt

“Our vision is for Dusky Sound to be one of the most intact ecosystems on Earth, and New Zealand’s largest ‘bio bank’ - a source of endangered native species that can be sent to pest free locations throughout the country.” - Pure Salt

Pure Salt, founded by Maria and Sean in 2016, is a charter company in Fiordland with the mission of conserving and protecting remote land. They run charters, teaching people about the rich ecosystem of the south and fostering unforgettable experiences.
 
Their goals are ambitious: eradicate pests, bring back critically endangered species from the brink of extinction and help foster biodiversity research in the area. With over 700 islands to cover, Pure Salt has made a huge commitment to conservation through their unequaled work.
 
Their Indian Island/Mamaku Restoration Project was initiated after the island was declared pest-free only to be reinvaded by pests in 2015/16. After setting up a network on this island they have now taken the predator numbers back down to undetectable levels. Now, work has started on their project in Long Island, with the Indian Island project providing an ideal model. Using a grid network of A24 traps, they were able to reduce the rat population to undetectable levels, creating a haven for vulnerable native species.
 
What they learnt on their journey to eradication is paramount in the success of their Long Island Project which we are so proud to be able to support. Their work to eradicate stoats on this island is one step further towards their goal of creating one of the most intact and biodiverse ecosystems in the world. Incredible mahi!
 
If you want to see more about the projects Pure Salt are working on check out their conservation page here.

Jean Stanley

When Jean started trapping in Pukawa, she knew that without intervention, the native birds who once inhabited this beautiful area would disappear , and with them, their beautiful songs l. So, she got stuck in.
 
In 2002, Jean and a group of Pukawa residents set up a network of traps that they hoped would reduce the abundance of pests in their piece of paradise. After catching 10 rats in 10 nights, they realised that their efforts were going to make a significant difference and with Jean at the helm, grew high hopes for birdlife in their area.
 
Fast forward to 2020, the Pukawa Wildlife Management team of volunteers boasts an incredible success of well over 11,000 pests eradicated thanks to their project. This work could not have been done without the incredible dedication of the residents and holiday goers of this area. Stanley has witnessed an increase in conservation interest throughout New Zealand and Pukawa is a wonderful testament to this.
 
In 2019 Jean Stanley was awarded a Queen’s Service Medal for her contribution to conservation and was quick to attribute the award to the work of the volunteers and team at Pukawa Wildlife Management Trust. Jean is a true conservation warrior and an absolute asset to the biodiversity of the wildlife in Pukawa.
 
 
The success of the trust means that there has been a steady increase in birdlife population in the area. And with the return of the North Island Robin along with many other native birds, Pukawa is alive with bird songs and we are incredibly proud and thankful for the work of Jean and her team.
Incredibly modest, Jean says about her award that she “feels very humbled because I’ve always thought there are people throughout New Zealand who are more worthy than me [...] the only reason I accepted was I feel Pukawa is a special place, I really do.”
The success of the trust means that there has been a steady increase in birdlife population in the area. And with the return of the North Island Robin along with many other native birds, Pukawa is alive with bird songs and we are incredibly proud and thankful for the work of Jean and her team.

Mike Fisk

 

The Valleys Project was established with one thing in mind: stop birdlife decline throughout New Zealand. Mike and his team knew funding was limited for the Herculean task of restoring our native flora and fauna, so they set out to help.
 
Mike Fisk is one of 10 founders of the Valleys Project and has seen first-hand how the decline of wildlife has all but silenced the Fiordland since he first started tramping and hunting there in the 1970’s. He knew a conservation project would benefit the valleys and ensure future trampers and hunters would be able to walk through the bush and hear the birds singing again.
 
A new approach to trapping and conservation, the Valleys Project allows people to ‘Adopt a valley’, by contributing financially to a project, giving them the opportunity to take on conservation projects affordably, while still making a significant impact. It’s a different approach to conservation but it’s working, with a trap count of 250 traps over 13km of river, trapping 750 predators in just 6 months.
 
The Valleys Project wants to foster a sense of ownership in the people who use this land now and for years to come.By making conservation a job in which all of us can play a part, they encourage fishermen, hunters, ornithologists, trampers and everyone else who enjoys the land, to take responsibility and contribute to the survival of wildlife in these areas.
 
Currently, the Valleys Project has set up trap lines near Te Anau in Fiordland to help support the current work of DOC in this area. They trap near rivers at intervals of 100m to give birds the best chance and catch as many predators as possible during the breeding season . Thanks Mike’s work in these remote areas of the South Island, we know birds stand a chance.
 
Check them out here to learn how you can adopt a valley.

Janet Wilson

 

In Te Ruahine, in the lower part of the North Island, is a group of volunteers determined to protect their taonga (treasure). Whio are considered to be more endangered than kiwi, with only around 3000 birds in existence. Endemic to New Zealand, the little blue ducks are at risk of becoming extinct without human intervention. That’s where Janet Wilson and The Ruahine Whio Protectors come in.
 
Janet has dedicated the last 12 years to bringing the birds back from the brink of extinction. A chairwoman for the project, she works relentlessly to make sure these birds have the best chance of survival. From organising volunteers to teaching children about trapping, to boots-on-the-ground resetting traps, Janet is a protector and a warrior for these beautiful birds.
 
The Protectors service over 2500 traps in a bid to reduce predator numbers and give juvenile a chance to survive to adulthood. The terrain is rough, and trapping is tough, , but not as tough as the volunteers who give their time to make sure this valuable work is done. Their work is paying off and now with an estimated 30 nesting pairs of whio, the Ruahine Recovery Site is one of the most successful sites in the country,
 
The Ruahine Ranges are a significant landmark in the protection and development of whio. The Ranges are now the Southernmost home to whio in the North Island since their decline and eventual disappearance from the Southern North Island (Rimutaka, Tararua and Aorangi Ranges). Without the work of the protectors and many groups in Te Ruahine, whio wouldn’t have stood a chance against predation.
 
The Protectors live up to their name every day. They are the driving force of the recovery and success of the natives that call Te Ruahine home. We can’t wait to see what the next 15 years holds for these beautiful birds but we know that with people like Janet and the protectors looking after them, the future looks very bright.

Debs Martin and Te Hoiere Bat Recovery Project

 

With bush-clad high slopes, and two rivers running through it, Te Hoiere Pelorus is an incredibly special place home to native pekapeka/long-tailed bats. The area had seen a decline in native wildlife since human habitation 700 years ago. Debs Martin is an environmental activist who wants to see Te Hoiere protected for future generations.
 
Te Hoiere Bat Recovery Project was set up by Forest & Bird to halt the decline in long-tailed and short-tailed bats which live in this area of Marlborough. One of the only places left in New Zealand where these bats roost, Te Hoiere is paramount to the ongoing survival of our country's only native land mammal, the long-tailed bat.
 
Debs Martin is an wonderfully inspiring conservationist: she has received a Queens Service Medal for her service to conservation,, and is involved in many conservation projects alongside the Te Hoiere Bat Recovery Project. Her advocacy work is what she is most proud of, speaking for the land, rivers and animals that cannot speak for themselves.

"The bats are what keeps me sane in the world, I keep thinking we have these tiny little critters flying around, hardly anyone even knows they are there and they are actually hanging on by a thread." - Debs Martin

 
Between Debs and Te Hoiere Bat Recovery Project, the predator free efforts in this area are in safe hands and we can’t wait to see what the future holds for these cool little mammals.

Blue Duck Station

 

Nestled in the Ruapehu district, Blue Duck Station is an outdoors enthusiast playground: the secluded area borders the Whanganui national park and river and is a slice of paradise for those who like tramping, horse trekking, mountain biking and more. This is the perfect place to get your thrills while supporting an organisation that works actively to see biodiversity in the area skyrocket.
 
At Blue Duck Station, you may be lucky to see whio swimming in the rivers or nesting on the banks, as well as weta out for a late night walk or in one of the nesting boxes set out around the station. With one of the highest concentrations of not only whio, but kiwi as well, Blue Duck Station is not only a prime spot for holiday goers, but for native wildlife too.
 
The team’s conservation efforts are vast and varied. They rely on a wide network of traps to cover as much of the area as possible and use a range of techniques to ensure all predators are caught. Alongside trapping, the Blue Duck Station team allocates a huge amount of time and effort into improving the habitat of our natives thanks to riparian planting to help regenerate the bush and improve water quality.
 
They couldn’t do it without their local group of “eco-warriors” who are more than happy to go out and service the traps. With approximately 450 traps on the station, aiming to catch rats, mice, stoats, weasels, ferrets and hedgehogs, this is hard work and they couldn’t do it without the help and support of the community. With their “sponsor a trap” scheme, they aim to start the conversation and encourage people to get involved by actively contributing to conservation in the area.
 
Blue Duck Station keeps their efforts transparent through their Google Earth app which allows everyone to see all the traps on their land. Simply download Google Earth and download the Whakahoro Trap System to see the awesome work they do!

Hollyford Conservation Trust

 

With a wide range of habitats, landscapes, flora and fauna, to protect, the Hollyford Conservation Trust has a mammoth task to enhance their biodiversity hotspot in Fiordland. Covering Martins Bay, the lower Hollyford River and McKenzie Lagoon, the 1400 hectare project includes:
 
- one of most important dune systems in the South Island, home to thousands of nesting seabirds including the rare Fiordland crested penguin,
- a unique lagoon and world renowned wetlands, habitat for kotuku or white heron, fernbirds, bitterns, karearea, NZ falcon and many more,
- mixed beech and podocarp forest including giant rimu, southern rata, kowhai, native mistletoe and an extensive range of native orchids,
- once prolific birdlife including kaka, kea, mohua and kereru.

Their mission is to halt the decline of native species through preventive trapping and predator control.

Alongside their hard work to protect native birdlife, their conservation efforts also encompass marine life: as unique species live in this part of the world and deserve to be protected: notably,this is the only place where bottlenose dolphins swim into a freshwater lake from the Tasman Sea, and a colony of fur seals call nearby Long Reef home.

Conservation is often measured by recording birdsong in the forest, or by counting the decrease in predators in an area, but the Hollyford Conservation Trust’s story is a good reminder that conservation efforts across New Zealand are making a difference for the many species and wildlife that need our help.

Tamahere Restoration Trust

 

The story of how Goodnature came to be in touch with the Tamahere Restoration Trust is a little different from the other of our trapping heroes stories. One day on facebook, we were tagged in a post from a woman in Tamahere called Alison Ewing. Alison had posted a beautiful image and story about her backyard in the Mangaone swamp and the inspiring work that her and her community had been doing to restore this area. Naturally, we were curious as to why Alison had tagged us and reached out to her. The story that came next made us realise that we had found another community group that are doing amazing things for their native bush. Here’s what she had to say:
 
“Husband Mark and I have been on this Tamahere property for 28 years. We’re lucky to have a decent amount of frontage onto the Mangaone Gully. The gully was initially grazed but we pretty soon started planting the gully sides initially. We’re lucky to have some old Kahikatea and remnants of natives that are now seeding. The swampy gully bottom was choked with willows, privet, pampas etc and we’ve cleared that and started planting. We’ve made a lot of mistakes along the way but I think we’re on the right track now!
 
There were no Tui, Kereru or Bellbirds here initially but now they are rapidly increasing. We have been using the Goodnature traps since they first came out. The rat traps have been very effective and we love the chirp app. It’s great not to have to use poisonous bait.
 
We’ve made contact with 5 immediate neighbours on the gully and have started working together to increase the weed and pest management. Staff from Waikato District and Regional Councils are coming to talk about support for this initiative.
 
In the meantime the various families can enjoy the boardwalk circuit and see the eels and Koura. There are a lot of people starting to clear their sections of gully but it is quite a daunting task so coming together as a group with council support seems the best plan.
 
In Tamahere we are lucky to have a local group of guys led by Leo Koppens who have created the Tamahere Reserve and are now clearing another gully so the community can enjoy these spaces.”
 
Tamahere Restoration Trust is a small yet mighty community group that has a goal of making the gully and swamp native again with the help of everyone that lives there. Leo is an incredibly dedicated conservationist and we can’t wait to see what the Tamahere crew do next.

Mike Butcher

 

Mike and Suzy Butcher grow kiwifruit in the Bay of Plenty. They’ve always had a love and appreciation for our native flora and fauna and believe we can all contribute to turn New Zealand into an ecosanctuary for wildlife.
 
In 2013, and again in 2016, Mike packed up his gear and headed south to see our wild places in New Zealand while lending a hand with conservation work in Fiordland. When he got there, he fell in love with the area and with every subsequent visit, his appreciation grew and he knew that he had to help protect it.
 
While volunteering, Mike realised that funding was restricting conservation efforts in fiordland and without contribution from like minded New Zealanders, the predator-free ambitions were going to be nearly impossible to accomplish.
 
Each year, Mike and Suzy contribute generously to the funding of A24 trapping networks on Small Craft Harbour Islands and Cording Islands. With their incredible support, Fiordland has another ally in the fight towards being predator-free.
 
Alongside the funding, Mik joins volunteering trips to Fiordland every year and his son James has also assisted with the servicing and replenishment of A24 . With the commitment of Mike and his family, he can be proud to say that Small Craft Harbour Island is rat free and the Cording group has had rat levels drop to near zero.
 
Mike and his family are essential to the continued success of conservation in Fiordland and with people like them, a predator free 2050 looks like it’s on it’s way.

The volunteers at Abel Tasman Birdsong Trust that work tirelessly for the birdsong

Karen Schumacher releases a kōkako for Experience Purangi

Lisa Whittle sharing her trapping knowledge with Te Kāuru in Mākirikiri Reserve

Dr. Stanley Mulvany's domain, just one of the places he visits to maintain traps

Half of the monitoring team for Holdsworth Restoration Trust

A patch of land Pest Free Mākara are fighting to protect - spot the A24!

Pure Salt's vessel - Flightless on it's way to drop off some keen trappers

Jean Stanley and Ian McNickle show off their new community group sign - great work!

A few of the team from The Valleys Project enjoying a hot meal afetr a long day in the bush

Two whio enjoying a rest knowing that the Ruahine Whio Protectors have got their back.

The long tailed bat (pekapeka) of Te Hoiere

Juvenile whio release at Blue Duck Station

A map of the Hollyford Conservation Trusts area they are working hard to protect

A crew on the Tamahere Reserve at a planting day, putting in native plants.

Mike Butcher's son James on Cording Island where there is a network of A24's working to keep predator population low.