A willingness to help his Pā has seen Ngā Māhanga hapū member take on a fun role of Pā pest protector.

For the last four months Ray MacDonald (Rangitane, Taranaki Iwi and Te Atiawa) and his daughter Waimirirangi have been regularly monitoring eight rat traps along Matanehunehu Stream next to Puniho Pā in Warea on Highway 45.

Ray says he and Waimirirangi enjoy spending time at the Pā.

"We went to our Trustees Hui to see if we could put out some traps and the whanau were all for it."

So far they've caught eight mice, three weasels and three rats. Ray says his his daughter gets excited every time something is caught.

"She lets everyone know that she's protecting her maunga and Pā from pests."

They also have help from children living on the Pā who love checking the traps.

"All our catches are on trap.nz so whanau can see how we're going."

Puniho Pā Secretary Fay Mulligan is pleased to see benefits of this work on a number of levels.

"The mahi being done is something that is for the benefit of our environment and our native species. All whanau are encouraged to support Predator-Free Taranaki," says Fay.

"The more we protect our biodiversity the better it will be for bird species, the kai, the habitat and recreational purposes."

This predator control work complements a broader biodiversity strategy which includes a large amount of riparian plantings along Matanehunehu Stream and key locations around the Pā.

Fay says the Puniho Pā trustees, whanau and friends have all contributed to the riparian planting.

"We already have around 600 plants along Matanehunehu and other locations like Komene Reservation where we have over 40,000 plants."

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Towards Predator-Free Taranaki Project Manager Toby Shanley is grateful to Puniho Pā and all marae across the region who are supporting the region-wide initiative, helping native wildlife and plants by removing rats, possums and stoats.

"Collectively every catch made is another step closer to having more native birds and restoring the health of our native flora and fauna," says Toby.

Ray says checking the traps is fun.

"I'm with my girl and we both know we're helping to protect an area that is special to us."

■ To find out more, visit trc.govt.nz/environment/working-together/pftaranaki2050/
or call Taranaki Regional Council on 0800 736 222 or email pftaranaki@trc.govt.nz.