Predator-free Pāpāmoa is the immediate goal. But, really, the sky is the limit.

On Saturday afternoon, residents of the Tauranga beachside suburb turned out to Papamoa Domain Reserve to pick up a free rat trap and do their bit for New Zealand's native birds and wildlife.

Organiser and volunteer Emma Richardson said given the good weather, the event didn't go as well as they had hoped, with only about 25 traps distributed this time, but she said it is still early days.

She said there were a lot of people with families and young children who were interested.

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"We gave them a bit of spiel about how it all works and what's the best way to set it up in your garden and how to start off."

She said an obligation of getting a trap is logging whatever is caught – whether it is a mouse or a rat – on the Predator Free Bay of Plenty website, so they can keep track of the rodent populations.

Richardson, who has her own environmental science business and goes into schools to run programmes, said the aim is to have at least one household in every five trapping rodents in the Pāpāmoa area.

At another event earlier in the year, she said more than 50 traps were handed out.

"It has come out of the programme started in Wellington, which was very successful in reducing predator numbers."

She said the local initiative is only just starting and has been going for less than a year in Pāpāmoa.

"And it hasn't really kicked off yet in the Mount. We are looking for people to take that on in the Mount – that's one of the big areas we could target in terms of predators."

The local initiative is only just starting and has been going for less than a year in Pāpāmoa. Photo / George Novak
The local initiative is only just starting and has been going for less than a year in Pāpāmoa. Photo / George Novak

Richardson said it would also be great if, once the rodent population is under control, the community can look further and take on other conservation and environmental initiatives together.

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Saturday's event was part of Conservation Week 2019.