When it comes to pesky possums some people see red - and some just see grey.

One entry in the WWF-New Zealand's Conservation Innovation Awards 2017 has added another tone, a dusty ash grey, to the 50 shades.

The entry from Kerikeri promotes a new take on an old-world biodynamic method of ridding fields of rodents and other furry pests.

It is called peppering, and involves burning the pelts and carcasses of said pests until they're little more than ash, grinding it finely, mixing it with water and ''spray painting'' the substance back on the affected land.


The biodynamic theory is that the target beasties will be repelled - and their reproductive process stymied - by the corresponding negative force.

The entry in the WWF-sponsored Conservation Innovation Awards also suggests a 21st century adaptation to philosopher and educator Rudolph Steiner's recipe: a plane or a drone with weight-bearing capability could spray it over larger areas.

The entry does not specify, as Steiner did, if the carcass burning should be done while Venus is in Scorpio.

However, it does say: ''We have a proven record here in Kerikeri.''

''It is a traditional practice, but new in the sense that so far it has not been applied because it lacked 'scientific background'.

''We were very sceptical when we learnt about it, but found it cheap (except for labour involved), effective (no possums etc on our and on neighbouring DOC property) and definitely harmless for the environment. It is unique as such.''

It is one of several back-to-the-future innovative ideas put forward in the online quest to find soft-footprint solutions to conservation problems.

So far, 16 entries have been logged from across the country for the 2017 awards; from Dunedin, Nelson, Auckland, Raglan, Kerikeri, Hamilton, Martinborough, Wellington and Christchurch.


More entries are welcome in the search for big, bold, game-changing ideas and new solutions to New Zealand's greatest environmental challenges, such as freshwater quality, climate change, species decline and invasive pests.

A prize package of $25,000 will be awarded to each of three category winners.

The categories, to which entries close on October 15, are: Engaging young people and communities; Predator Free New Zealand 2050; and an Open Category. To submit an idea, visit wwf-nz.crowdicity.com.