Traps are now being installed on Hawke's Bay farms as part of a predator-control trial linked to the the Cape to City project which was launched earlier this year.

Hawke's Bay Regional Council land services manager Campbell Leckie said the trial, which started late last month, would involve 200 predator traps armed with wireless monitoring technology to be tested throughout the region.

The trial is part of Cape to City, which is a wide-scale predator control and ecological restoration programme covering more than 26,000ha between Hastings and Cape Kidnappers.

Mr Leckie said a small trial of the wireless technology was undertaken earlier this year and, after some modifications, the next stage was now ready to begin involving farmers, landowners and restoration groups in up to eight rural areas between Mahia and Central Hawke's Bay.


The trial would test the connectivity of the wireless technology in a range of environments and climates, as well as establishing the best way and how often users were notified that the traps had been activated.

"Wireless technology will make it much more efficient for farmers to clear and check traps," Mr Leckie said. "Rather than having to regularly check every trap, they will only have to check the ones that have been activated. The new traps have long life lures and a wireless transponder which sends a text message or an email notifying where and when the trap has gone off."

Regional council predator control specialist Pouri Rakete-Stones and his team would monitor the trial and make sure farmers found it easy and safe to use the traps.

"We will be working closely with the landowners participating in the trial to see what works for them and what improvements could be made," he said.

Another aim was to significantly reduce the cost - up to $75 a hectare - of ongoing pest control.

The wireless technology has been developed by Simon Croft of Encounter Solutions.

"This technology is game-changing. Trap maintenance visits can now be targeted, saving valuable time and money," Mr Rakete-Stones said.

The traps would then be rolled out during the first half of 2016 at no cost to landowner taking part in the Cape to City project.


A wireless sensor on the trap sends a message to the landowner when it has been activated, which saves regular checking and maintenance.

The programme has been developed following the success of similar programme in Northern Hawke's Bay, Poutiri Ao Tne, and the regional council's possum control programme.

Cape to City is a five-year, $6million project which is a partnership involving the regional council, the Department of Conservation, Cape Sanctuary, Landcare Research, various landowners and businesses as well as iwi and hapu. The project has funding from the Aotearoa Foundation.