Predators beware - the Maketū/Little Waihī community has you in its cross hairs.

The small coastal settlement has become the first in the Predator Free Bay of Plenty community to achieve the target of one trap for every five households.

The significance is that Predator Free New Zealand has estimated that having a trap in every fifth urban backyard is enough to create a safe environment for our native wildlife to flourish.

Predator Free Bay of Plenty is a community-led, backyard trapping programme that aims to rid neighbourhoods of rats and mice.


Maketū resident Janie Stevenson was involved in the establishment of the organisation and now helps run the Maketū/Little Waihī group.

''We have some very keen people - some very keen trappers in Maketū,'' she says.

There are now 188 households in the area with traps.

Since the initiative began in March 2018, 136 mice, 251 rats, four hedgehogs, one possum and one stoat have been killed.

''Maketū has gullies running through it and with the sea wall, it's a prime place for predators - rats and mice - but we've got the community well on board.''

The different Predator Free groups give out traps to those who are interested in helping with the initiative. Timber for the Maketū/Little Waihī group's traps was cut by members of Te Puke Menz Shed and the traps built by Dave Jones, Jacqui Butler and Jim Russell.

''We probably gave out quite a few [traps] in the first six months when started and they have kept on dribbling out,'' says Janie. ''People are still contacting me at the moment and new people into town hear about it.

''The next step is to make sure everybody who has got one is using it.''


Janie says she thinks the group's success is a general reflection of the awareness of environmental issues in the area which boasts the Maketū Ongatoro Wetland Society (MOWS), which also carries our pest control, the Kotukutuku Gully Care Group and other conservation groups and projects.

''I think our community is very in touch with the environment and they really want to care for it and this is an active way for them to show they care and of course it also protects our homes.''

Anecdotally the various forms of pest control are having an impact.

''Kotukutuku Gully [Care Group] has noticed a a decrease in predators and we also have very good numbers of birds and lower numbers of predators on the spit - we are hoping that everyone working together is having that impact.''

Maketū Spit is the nesting site for New Zealand dotterel, godwits and black-billed gulls.

As well as Maketū/Little Waihī There are also Predator Free groups in Paengaroa and Pukehina.


To contact any of the groups call Janie (Maketū) 027 498 5550, Lyn (Paengaroa) 021 882 059 or Chrissie (Pukehina) 027 266 2476.