Stratford's famous rare white pīwakawaka has been drawing crowds of birdwatchers and photographers.
What they might not realise is that the unusually coloured bird is evidence of the success of a longstanding biodiversity plan in Stratford's King Edward Park.
In 2016, Taranaki Regional Council with Stratford District Council, the landowner of King Edward Park, created such a plan.
Its purpose was to protect, enhance and restore indigenous biodiversity values of the forest remnants and river margins of King Edward Park and the Carrington Walkway.
Biodiversity plans include a description of the site and list the site's ecological values and threats to those values.
There are 163 biodiversity plans in the Stratford area.
Steve Ellis, environment services manager for the regional council, says work on the plans started back in 2008.
"We looked for expressions of interest from the community to see if they were interested in the plans. Our role is protecting biodiversity on private land."
The regional council continues to provide information and management
advice as needed for the plan period and the work is also supported by the district council, he says.
"We provide funding to set up the plan. This includes controlling pest plants and invasive animals. After that we continue to offer advice and assistance to the landowners as they maintain the plan and continue with controlling threats.
"The Stratford District Council continues to maintain a weed-control and pest-control programme."
He says pest control has been successful.
"There are around 70 traps throughout King Edward Park. The traps are DOC200 traps, which are a box used for catching rats, mustelids and hedgehogs. We use eggs and peanut butter as bait."
The traps are checked every two months by Downers, which is contracted by the district council to do the work, while the regional council checks the traps in between.
District council parks and reserves officer Melanie McBain says Downers staff check the traps to ensure they are still working, remove captured pests from the traps, and re-set the traps with fresh bait.
"If the trap is damaged in anyway, the Taranaki Regional Council replace it."
The cost of Downers staff checking the traps every two months is built into the rates system, she says.
"The benefits are currently what we are seeing now, nationwide attention on the birdlife within our parks and walkways and council are very proud of the work that occurs on them."
Steve Ellis says fantails in the area indicate successful predator control.
"Fantails are comparatively quick breeders so they are a good indicator."
Stratford's famous rare white pīwakawaka (fantail) is also an indicator of the success.
Sisters Ellena (10) and Emelia Quarterman (8) captured a photo of the bird while walking home from school.
"When we heard about this amazing bird, we were so thrilled to capture it in its environment," Ellena says.
Melanie McBain says the trapping programme has had a positive impact on the park.
"The birdlife has flourished and, as you walk through the walkways, you can hear more birdlife activity.
"The white pīwakawaka has brought much attention to King Edward Park and I think more people are recognising what Stratford has to offer with our parks and walkways, but also how important it is for all councils within Taranaki to work together to reach the same goal."
In total, there are 113 traps around Stratford.
"In the past two to three years, a total of 286 rats, 13 mustelids and 15 hedgehogs have been caught in the traps around Stratford," Steve Ellis says.
He says the King Edward Park is a valuable asset to the community.
"It's a wonderful walkway."
His team is working to protect habitats so wildlife can thrive, he says.
The regional council receives funding through its biodiversity programme.
"Each year we are given enough funding to initiate 20 new plans."
Melanie McBain says one of the noticeable differences is the sound you hear when you walk through the park.
"It's full of life and you can hear the activity of the birdlife. People are also wanting to get more involved with asking what they can do – by informing the Stratford District Council and Taranaki Regional Council of any issues, everyone is working together to protect Stratford's wildlife."
Steve Ellis says regional council staff enjoy explaining to landowners why their land is special and helping them to understand its value.
"It's great explaining to owners why their piece of land is special."