An increase in rabbit digging activity in Waikanae Beach has raised some concerns.

Bayne and Janine Clement took Kāpiti News on a tour around part of the Waimanu Lagoons as well as a bit of the northern Waikanae Estuary Scientific Reserve highlighting a number of holes created by rabbits.

The Tutere St couple have contacted both Greater Wellington Regional Council and Kāpiti Coast District Council about the problem.

"The holes are getting worse," Bayne said.


Bayne said the regional council told him laying poison wasn't an option because it would kill wildlife in the area as well as people's pets such as dogs.

"I said the only thing they could really do was close it off and have a shoot."

He remembered shooting rabbits on a farm as a youngster.

"We'd use a spotlight, they'd stop in the light, we used to shoot heaps."

Janine said a lot of elderly people liked to visit the lagoons and sit on a bench.

Rabbit damage at Waimanu Lagoons. Photo / David Haxton
Rabbit damage at Waimanu Lagoons. Photo / David Haxton

"But if they're not paying attention [to the holes] they could fall over."

Rabbit holes had even appeared on their berm and a dead rabbit had been found on the road.

An entry area to the northern area of the reserve was one the "worst areas" with a large cluster of holes in a grassed area but "I hate to think what it would be like in the dunes", Bayne said.

Rabbit damage in the Waikanae Estuary Scientific Reserve. Photo / David Haxton
Rabbit damage in the Waikanae Estuary Scientific Reserve. Photo / David Haxton

Even going up the Waikanae River there were "big marks."

Janine said the rabbits had also migrated to the Waimeha Lagoons and the Waimeha Stream.

"There's a guy who does trapping and he said 'we haven't got any rabbits here' and I was up there the other day and had a bit of a laugh to myself because rabbit holes had started there."

Further afield to Waikanae Park, near a recycling station, "We saw 20 or more rabbits in a group," Bayne said.

"There's nothing personal against rabbits but we have to get them under control," Janine said.

Kāpiti News contacted the regional council which said the Department of Conservation managed the estuary, south of the Waikanae River, and the district council managed the north side of the river and the lagoons.

The district council's parks and recreation manager Alison Law said the issue had now been brought to its attention.

"We will monitor the situation."