Pest Free Onetahua is a unique restoration project in partnership with Manawhenua ki Mohua. It has a vision to restore the taonga habitat of Onetahua/Farewell Spit so native birds, plants and other wildlife can thrive.
Summer sees the welcome arrival of our much loved kuaka/bar-tailed godwits back to Mohua/Golden Bay. These migratory birds made the incredible journey from their breeding nests in Alaska, and will make Onetahua’s rich tidal flats home for a Kiwi summer. Summer also marks a busy time for the Pest Free Onetahua (PFO) team in our detailed planning, research and partnership development.
A big part of PFO is working in partnership with iwi and a recent highlight for the project team was a site visit with Manawhenua ki Mohua. We journeyed together with Farewell Spit Eco Tours and spent the day getting to know whānau, sharing stories and discovering Onetahua’s special cultural and ecological sites.
The project team is currently working on the pest removal plan and carrying out detailed monitoring of specific areas. This information will be used to develop the best ways to eradicate rats, mustelids, possums and feral pigs from Onetahua.
PFO is also working towards a signed community agreement with The Department of Conservation. Onetahua is designated as one of Aotearoa’s few Nature Reserves, and this high natural value means specific consents and permissions are needed from DOC to carry out the detailed pest removal plan.
A recent win is the fantastic progress we’ve made to remove feral pigs from Onetahua. Two aerial culls using specialist helicopter operators and high-tech thermal imaging successfully reduced the population to single figures. A follow-up ground operation is underway with the goal of eliminating feral pigs completely. This skilled mahi is a heartening step for our project team, and our shared vision to return nature back to Onetahua.