Onetahua Farewell Spit is a hotspot of shore, dune, and wetland biodiversity and an internationally significant RAMSAR wetland.
But it also used to be a breeding place for dune and cliff nesting seabirds. Now, despite being a protected nature reserve, seabird nesting success is rare and still in decline due to introduced pests.
With 90 percent of New Zealand’s seabirds threatened with extinction, Onetahua Farewell Spit offers an unrivalled mainland restoration opportunity to reverse the decline.
To protect the 39 plant and native wildlife species found in this area which are currently at risk of extinction and restore the rare habitats that support these species.
The Pest Free Onetahua Farewell Spit project could see numbers of nesting gulls, terns, gannets, shearwaters and the banded dotterel increase within 10 years.
Within 5-10 years, once eradication has been achieved and defended, rare and endangered species under threat elsewhere could be established on the spit including the NZ dotterel and the fairy tern.
It’s what the community wants - after extensive public consultation, we have learned that the majority of the population living close to the project area and the wider population want these pests gone.
As long as rats, stoats, possums and pigs remain on the Spit, more endangered species will be lost.