In a small garage on Bluff Hill, piles of wooden tunnels sit next to boxes of rat traps.

This weekend, the traps will be given out to members of Hawke's Bay's urban communities to put in their gardens, in an effort to control invasive predators in the region.

Predator Free Urban Hawke's Bay, led by Richard Croad, will be giving away 300 predator traps this Saturday at the Napier Soundshell, with the components for another 100 traps available for people to build themselves.

In total, Croad has the materials to build 900 traps, including those being given away this Saturday, thanks to grants from Predator Free New Zealand and Kiwibank, and Hawke's Bay Regional Council.

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Richard Croad, founder of Predator Free Urban Hawke's Bay. Photo / Warren Buckland
Richard Croad, founder of Predator Free Urban Hawke's Bay. Photo / Warren Buckland

A recent grant from Napier City Council means he now has funding for 4000 traps.

The aim is to get a trap on to at least every second property in Hawke's Bay's urban centres.

The traps are designed to catch small, mammalian predators, for example rats, stoats and weasels, but are unable to catch domestic animals such as cats, and are child-proof.

A trap, similar to a large mouse trap, is placed in a tunnel with bait. The trap has a hood on it, which was designed by Landcare research to improve the strike rate and effectiveness of the trap.

They work best placed along a wall, on a flat surface, and when tunnel access is not impeded by anything, making it easy for the animals.

Croad said he would be over the moon if 300 people turned up to take traps on Saturday.

"The first 300 in will get a trap and tunnel, if we get more than that, we'll take their name, and they will go on a list, and we will pump things out."

He will also be trying to recruit volunteers on Saturday, people who would be happy to build and help manage traps within their community.

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So far the project has received funding through Predator Free New Zealand and Kiwibank, Hawke's Bay Regional Council and Napier City Council.

HBRC catchment services manager Campbell Leckie said the regional council has contributed about $10,000 to PFUHB.

"The work Predator Free Urban Hawke's Bay are doing is a really important part of this picture as it allows people in our urban communities the chance to be part of making a difference in the control of predator pests.

Richard Croad building traps to give away over the weekend. Photo / Warren Buckland
Richard Croad building traps to give away over the weekend. Photo / Warren Buckland

"This predator control in our towns and cities is a fundamental part of us having a more healthy environment and biodiversity."

He said community leadership, like Croad's, had led to projects like Predator Free Wellington and the current eradication of rats and stoats on the Miramar peninsula.

Napier City Council community strategies manager Natasha Mackie confirmed they had given PFUHB a grant of $30,000.

"The project is a great example of how council can support the community to individually and collectively take a lead role in a solutions-based approach to issues in our city.

"The project offers a way for residents to get involved in increasing biodiversity in our urban setting.

"Council provided the grant to accelerate the coverage to around 40 per cent of Napier, increasing the environmental outcomes faster."

PFUHB will be handing out traps at the Napier Soundshell from 2pm-4pm on Saturday.