All posts by The Forest Bridge Trust

NZ Biosecurity Award Finalist – October 2018

The Forest Bridge Trust has been announced as a finalist for the Department of Conservation Community Award in this years NZ Biosecurity Awards.

The 19 award finalists in 7 categories were announced on 12 October 2018. The Awards  recognise and celebrate outstanding contributions to protecting our country.

To read more about the awards and the finalists visit the MPI website.

Winners of the Biosecurity Awards will be announced at the awards dinner on 12 November in Auckland.

CatchIT Schools wins Mayoral Award

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The Forest Bridge Trust’s CatchIT Schools programme has been announced as the winner of the 2018 Auckland Council Mayoral Awards, schools category.

The programme is a collaboration between The Forest Bridge Trust and Auckland University, bringing STEM subjects to life (Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths).

The specific aim of the programme is to create a pathway for schoolchildren that transforms them from hands-on trappers to environmental decision-makers. A programme that supports children to experiment, strategise, and make data-informed decisions to increase their trapping success.

The programme starts in the classroom where children learn about what makes up a healthy ecosystem and the threats to our native wildlife – and actions they can take to protect our precious environment.  These classroom sessions are effective and engaging for children and draw in the parents. Students then apply their learnings in a practical way by carrying out in-the-field pest control on their own properties. Tracking tunnels and trapping equipment are supplied free of charge.

Back at school, the catch data is uploaded and analysed using the Auckland University developed “CatchIT” online data system. This is where the children learn all about how to analyse their catches and make decisions based on the statistics results – and create their own experiments, eg testing how best to place traps, and what to bait with.

Parents are also offered larger traps for mustelids and possums when they attend an after school workshop.  This enables them to safely use the traps alongside their children. Further leverage is gained from the wider community, by offering more in depth pest control workshops once the schools programme is up and running.

CatchIT Educator, Liz Maire says “This is a true partnership between the Trust and the University of Auckland. Professor Rachel Fewster, with her team, designed tools for students at their level.  This allowed them to become scientists and statisticians with ease. “

Other contributors included Shanthie Walker who the Trust engaged to review the programme.  “Shanthie re-moulded the programme and took it to a whole new level”, says Liz.

Since January 2017, the CatchIT schools programme has been delivered to 8 schools. A total of 1450 traps have been distributed to families active in the pest control programme through their school.  60% of families involved in the CatchIT Schools programme continue to use a DOC 200 and a timms trap on their properties and record catches.

“We know that we have ‘lit the fire’ with this project. Nearly 1,000 children have been through the programme and are now successful trappers in their own backyards.  They have proved they care enough to keep going, to protect what they have learned to value.” Says Liz.

Free Community Pest Control Workshops in 2018

The Forest Bridge Trust are running another series of FREE pest control workshops.Professional trappers (Joe Cribbens, Cam Rathe, Daniel Cornege pictured above) will be on hand to give advice about dealing with pests using traps or bait.

They have a wealth of experience when it comes to pests. Joe is our main workshop presenter. Cam and Daniel also work on behalf of the Trust, with landowners in northern Rodney, to give advice on pest control.

There will also be limited free traps for those attending the workshops.

2018 Workshop Dates are:

  • 6 May – Tomarata – Forest Hall Reserve, School Road
  • 20 May – Kaipara Flats – Ranfurly Hall, 903 Kaipara Flats Road
  • 27 May – Puhoi – Ahuroa Hall, 1345 Ahuroa Road
  • 17 Jun – South Head – Waioneke School, 1979 South Head Road
  • 8 Jul – Tapora
  • 29 Jul – Whangaripo
  • 16 Sept – Snells Beach/Martins Bay
  • 30 Sept – Wainui

For more information about a workshop see the latest flyer or click here to register for a workshop.

Update on Fencing Projects – 2017

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2017 has been a busy year as the Trust works alongside local landowners to fence wetlands, streams and bush.  Below is brief update on some of the projects we have been working on:

Steve Dill
We are currently fencing off a large wetland and stream that runs to the Hoteo River. To date we have completed 2450 metres of electric fencing around the wetland.  There is still a small section to complete but this will not happen until the summer months, due to the very wet conditions. This small section has been fenced with temporary hot wires to keep all stock out.

3000 trees were donated to this project by Reconnecting Northland and were planted at a friends and family community planting day on Sunday 18 June 2017.

Cheryl Dill
This involves fencing a 5.3ha remnant native bush block that runs alongside the Hoteo River for approximately 900 meters.  Fencing was completed earlier in the year and  was done using 4 wire electric fencing.

Tony Rogers
We plan to complete this area of riparian fencing and native bush protection by the end of this year

Wendy Wech
1000 metres of 7 wire post and batten fencing has been completed to protect an area of Hoteo River riparian margin.  Also both sides of a stream to protect an Inanga spawning site that connects to the Hoteo.

A further area of approximately 360m will be completed if funds permit. This will protect another joining riparian bush remnant alongside the Hoteo River

As always thanks to our funders for helping to make these projects possible – Auckland Council’s Regional Environment and Natural Heritage Fund and Reconnecting Northland.


2017 CatchIT Community Workshops


During 2017, 12 free pest control workshops 
were held in communities stretching from the Kaipara over to the East Coast.

More than 287 farmers and landowners came long to hear how they can deal to pests on their property.

Most took home a free trap or two to get things started and have already been reporting success.

The workshops were held at a variety of locations, including local halls, shearing sheds, garages and school halls.

The training events have also seen some great networks being formed, with people sharing contacts to form local support groups.

It was rewarding to see the enthusiasm from our rural communities and the willingness to put in the effort to help with the goal of landscape-wide protection. We look forward to hearing about benefits as people make a dent in pest numbers – more birds and insects, healthier forests, an increase in inanga/whitebait, and more fruit being left untouched on those orchard trees!

Ministry for Environment funding for the Forest Bridge Trust – 17 July 2017

Associate Environment Minister Scott Simpson has announced $300 000 funding over three years for The Forest Bridge Trust from the Community Environment Fund.

The announcement was made at a morning tea hosted by the Point Wells community. Over morning tea Mr Simpson had an opportunity to hear from local trappers about some of the Forest Bridge Trust projects.  He also had some first hand trapping experience – checking a trap with local student Ziggy.

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“The Government is committed to Predator Free 2050 – a plan to eradicate rats, stoats and possums from New Zealand and protect precious native species.  By encouraging local farming families to take an active stewardship role in trapping and recording catch data we will continue to build interest and enthusiasm for pest control.  Longer term, widespread local participation could become the community norm with great potential benefits in reduction of pests.” said Mr Simpson.

“It’s great to see the local landowners, communities and councils working together to create a lasting legacy of a pest-free forest where native plants, birds and animals can thrive and be enjoyed by everyone.”

The Community Environment Fund provides funding so New Zealanders are empowered to take environmental action. The Fund support projects that strengthen partnerships, raise public awareness of environmental issues, and encourage community participation in environmental initiatives. Since 2010 the fund has awarded more than $12 million to environmental projects.

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Pest Control Workshops – May 2017

Free pest control workshop were held in Tomarata, Kaipara Flats and Ahuroa in May.

More than 70 farmers attended the three workshops, with most taking home at least one trap to enhance their pest control.

The workshops were held at a variety of locations.  This allowed people to gain knowlege on how to trap pests in different settings.  Locations included dairy, sheep and beef farms.  Each with their own trapping challenges – chook houses, possum browsed orchards and some magnificent remnant kauri forests.

The Kaipara Flats workshop had an extra attendee – a possum in the rafters of the woolshed used as a venue.

The workshops have also seen some great networks being formed, with people sharing contacts to form local support groups.

A big thanks goes to those people who allowed us to use their properties for the workshops.

2017 Landowner/Farmer Workshops

In May The Forest Bridge Trust held our annual landowner workshops.  These are one of the most important days on our calendar.  It is our chance to bring together interested landowners from the Hoteo catchment to share what we have been doing for the past year, hear from speakers about interesting research and information, but most important of all we get farmer input on potential projects for the next year.

This year we held two meetings. One in the upper Hoteo catchment at the Wellsford Community Centre and one in the lower Hoteo catchment at the Kaipara Flats Sports Club.

The meetings were a great opportunity to meet new people, catch up with old friends and network.

It was also a chance to hear about what the Trust has been up to over the past year.  The agenda included presentations from Kevin Adshead (fencing projects), Thomas Stazyk (fencing agreements) and Liz Maire (CatchIT).

Various experts also gave very interesting and thought provoking presentations on topics relevant to the Hoteo area.

Shelley Hackett (Senior Community Waterways Specialist, Auckland Council) gave a presentation on the role of citizen science as a monitoring tool for waterways.

Dylan Clarke (Senior Healthy Waterways Specialist, Auckland Council) gave a brief outline of the Auckland Council funding available for Hoteo landowners.

Scott Speed (Principal Specialist Green Infrastructure Planning, Auckland Council) gave a presentation about channel and bank stability of the Hoteo River system, specifically on loadings to the Kaipara Harbour.  This presentation was based on the recent work of Andrew Simmon from Cardno Entrix.

The presentation provided a lot of scientific data about erosion on the Hoteo River, including erosion hot spots.  He also gave information about various ways to deal with the erosion.

Andrew Hughes (Land and Water Scientist, NIWA) then gave a presentation on some of the research projects he is involved in that relate to the Hoteo.  This included research that uses sediment fingerprinting.  This study will be able to distinguish what type of land use has generated the sediment eg pine forest, native forest, grazing pasture.

We also heard from local iwi representatives.  Fiona McKenzie from Ngati Manuhiri spoke at the northern Hoteo meeting about the upcoming Nga Roto lakes project involving lakes Slipper, Spectacle and Tomarata.  Margaret Kawharu from Ngati Whatua o Kaipara spoke at the lower Hoteo meeting about their Treat of Waitangi settlement process.

The remainder of the day was spent looking at maps and identifying potential projects for The Forest Bridge Trust.

It was also an opportunity to learn about the extensive fencing that has already happened on private land – funded by landowners, funding agencies or undertaken in partnership with The Forest Bridge Trust.


We would like to thank our caterers Shirley Blakemore and the Kaipara Flats PTA.  Also a big thanks to all those who  took time during a busy time of the year to come along and share their very valuable and interesting insights.  We look forward to working with you over the coming years as we make the forest bridge from the Kaipara to the Pacific a reality.

Trapping Underway in Point Wells – 26 February

The Forest Bridge Trust teamed up with the Point Wells Community & Ratepayers Association to deliver a pest control workshop at the Point Wells Hall on Sunday.

22 locals from around Point Wells enjoyed a day of practical learning. Experts spoke about the importance of protecting our native wildlife by trapping pests and predators and a range of traps were on hand for demonstrations.  Those that were keen to try their hand at trapping at home, were also able to take traps home after the workshop, which will kick off the village-wide pest control programme for this community.

A range of pests have been detected around the area, including rats, possums, hedgehogs and stoats – less of these will encourage wildlife back into the area, especially with local source populations like Tawharanui Regional Park.

Special thanks must also go to the Warkworth Hospice who provided the catering.