The Government is putting $1.6 million of funding over four years into creating a predator-free Hawke's Bay.

Minister for Conservation Eugenie Sage made the announcement at the Mission Estate Winery tonight and said the project was to eradicate possums, feral cats and other mustelids in Hawke's Bay.

This year, Predator Free 2050 announced funding for a predator-free project in Taranaki and Sage said she hoped both regions would work closely together so the project would thrive.

"This investment in Hawke's Bay is the second major investment by Predator Free 2050 Ltd. I hope you will share a lot of experience, practical knowledge, research and innovation so that you both build on the work that's happening in the regions," she said.


The first phase of the $4.86m project would focus on eradicating possums from 14,500ha on Mahia Peninsula within four years, as an initial step towards ridding the region of predators.

The research and knowledge gained in Mahia would be used to develop a low-cost farmland control and eradication model applicable to other areas of the region and New Zealand.

The Hawke's Bay Regional Council is investing $1.17m in the project.

It would build on the success of the Cape to City and Poutiri Ao ō Tāne projects, which have so far delivered more than 34,000ha of innovative farmland control of possums, mustelids and wild cats, which also includes wireless trap monitoring.

One important factor of the project was maintaining the strong relationships that have been built with local iwi, as well as hundreds of landowners, school children and teachers.

Council chairman Rex Graham said eradicating possums from Hawke's Bay was both ambitious and realistic.

"I believe we can reduce the cost of rural predator control by more than more 50 per cent through smart technology and project design, and with landowners' help, I'm confident we can remove them from our landscapes."

Council chief executive James Palmer said the project fitted with the council's overarching goal of improving the region's natural ecosystems and biodiversity and was reflected in the council's Long-Term Plan and proposed Regional Pest Management Plan.

"The regional council is committed to building strong partnerships and this project is all about working alongside iwi, local and national organisations and the Government to achieve common goals," Palmer said.

"Getting rid of these predators will also release pressure on areas that we're replanting, which will give our native species a chance to thrive - the birds will start doing the work in terms of spreading the seeds for us.

"There's a growing emergence of what we're doing to get better fresh-water outcomes and better land-use outcomes for better biodiversity outcomes."

Predator Free 2050 chief executive Ed Chignell said predator control at Cape Sanctuary and the Maungaharuru range shows how native seabirds, threatened land birds and other unique wildlife such as tuatara can return to the region once predators are removed.

"This project gets us started on the East Coast and enables new innovation and approaches that will be essential for our national predator free goal," he said.