Bait for the field days ... possum pie, anyone?

By Rosemary Roberts

Pipiwai Possum Pies are the latest of the annual "eat me if you dare" wild food offerings which have successfully lured people into the Northland Regional Council council marquee at the annual Northland Field Days.

The 2012 event runs from March 1 to March 3, at the field days showground at Dargaville.

The pies are a repeat of a successful "bait programme" of possum pies at the 2005 Field Days. Since then the novelty annual treats have included wasp larvae icecream, possum pate, wild rabbit sausages and breakfast sausages flavoured with the native plants kawakawa and horopito.

Most of the possum meat for the 2012 treat has been sourced in the Pipiwai area by resident George Niha, a member of Te Kaiakiri Mai O Te Orewai Trust, which last year joined the regional council's increasingly popular Community Pest Control Area (CPCA) scheme.

More than 50 possums trapped by Mr Niha and council biosecurity officers have been boned and minced at O'Dwyer's Butchery of Whangarei, yielding about 20kg of meat for bite-sized gourmet pies being made by Regency Pies of Whangarei.

NRC events and partnerships co-ordinator Katherine Mabbit says 1500 pies will be served at the council's usual site 251 over the three days of the event. This year the council's marquee will have a 'Back to Basics' theme with displays on pests, water quality and soil conservation.

Community Pest Control Areas can be established in areas identified by their community as worth protecting. A list of pests for control is drawn up and a plan then developed and implemented.

- Northern Advocate

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