A feasibility study was carried out by Onetahua Restoration, with funding from PF2050. A separate entity has formed to implement this project – Pest Free Onetahua.
We engaged Ahikā Consultants to conduct the feasibility study on eradication of all introduced pest predators over the area from the Spit to Pakawau Bush Road. Ahikā consultants lead the Dunedin predator free project and are hugely experienced with large scale predator eradication operations just like ours.
Ahikā considered the information available about the pest species that are present, the terrain, and the likely benefits of eradication. They considered the methods that are being successfully employed by the other big predator eradication projects around the country (now 20 of them) and the methods that are in research and development. They considered whether it was feasible to eradicate the main pests without using broadcast pesticides.
At the same time we asked the local community for their views on the project and the use of pesticides. We learned that the majority of the population living close to the project area and the wider Golden Bay population want these pests gone
Taking on board the community views, Ahikā developed a plan of what can be feasibly done and how to do it. This was peer reviewed by other experts including from Project Janszoon and Pest Free Banks Peninsula, DOC and TDC.
Through this process the mission was divided into stages. Rather than attempting to eradicate all introduced pest predators from the Spit to Pakawau Bush Road the project has been reduced down to a more manageable first stage of eradication on the Spit and suppression over the buffer zone to prevent return to the Spit.