Forget Paris: for one newlywed couple, there's no better honeymoon than killing possums in Taranaki.

Fresh from their wedding, Andrea and Max Hoegh are working at the frontline of New Zealand's first large-scale possum eradication operation.

The biggest pest-busting project of its kind in the country, Towards Predator-Free Taranaki divided the region into pizza-slice sections around the mountain, with work kicking off in the New Plymouth area.

The Hoeghs' effort centred around the coastal town of Oākura, where they've caught around 200 possums since October.


They've only just returned home from tying the knot in Ireland, where Andrea hails from.

"We just love the native wildlife and plants here so much, we couldn't think of a better place to be – it'll be the perfect honeymoon," Max said.

He admitted to being a little obsessed with the zero-possum cause: he's been hunting since he was 6 and even spent part of his wedding day working on the operation.

"I'm really happy to be back in Oākura, we just love it here and it's going to be even better if we can eradicate possums."

When the pair received a suspected possum report, they visited the area to assess it and then set a live trap, ensuring the safety of any children or pets.

Their work was considered critical to help restore local biodiversity, allowing native birds like kaka and kiwi to return to the area by eradicating possums.

Possums were notorious for feasting on native plants, birds and their eggs.

But Hoegh said Oākura has already been tainted by the possums, for him.


"I can't look at a piece of bush now, or a panoramic view of Oākura's stunning coastline, without thinking of all the potential possum habitat," he said.

"It's ruined the view, a little bit, but that's okay. I'm happy helping residents restore Kāitake by making it possum-free."

They've been working in the zero possum area, for Taranaki Regional Council, together with Oākura locals, community groups, Taranaki Mounga Project and Taranaki Regional Council.

Towards Predator-Free Taranaki was launched last year with an $11.7m kick-start from Government-owned company Predator Free 2050.