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A korero on predators

Those working to get the predator-free ball rolling throughout Wairarapa are gathering tonight in the Carterton Events Centre, at an event open to everyone.

Green Party MP Eugenie Sage will speak at the event on the national state of biodiversity and where predator-free needs to be taken in the future.

Also speaking is the chair of the environmental networking group Wairarapa Pukaha to Kawakawa Alliance [WaiP2K], Todd Jenkinson on community engagement with implementing Masterton’s predator-free movement.

“There’s a lot of feeling of hopelessness when you live in those urban areas because often controlling predators is something that happens out in the forests,” said Jenkinson.

“If we’re serious about predator free 2050, then urban groups need to be involved just as much as other groups.”

“Wairarapa has a really good opportunity to lead the way.”

Jenkinson said this meant using particular language which included everyone, to help promote and expand the movement through Wairarapa.

“As Chris Peterson, previous councillor for Masterton said, we need to bring people into the tent who aren’t already there,” Jenkinson said.

“Often we preach to the converted and we use the language that we know, but we need to be able to use language that others know, and know their values.”

There are a number of catchment groups using pest control, but currently, Martinborough is the only township where predator-free is officially established in Wairarapa.

After a community engagement coordinator is found, Jenkinson said the Masterton equivalent would likely be officially launched in the coming months.

Jenkinson said it would hopefully “expand and grow legs of its own”.

Helping this momentum were a couple of funding boosts – one grant from the Nikau Foundation and other funding from Masterton District Council.

Also on the table for discussion was the potential to expand predator-free to more localities, like Carterton.

“We’d like to have a predator-free in every town eventually.”

The main focus at this stage is rats, possums and mustelids [ferrets, stoats and weasels], and Jenkinson said he believed possums were becoming more of an issue in urban areas.

“Possums can be a huge issue for not only fauna but flora too.”

The meeting is at 7pm tonight, in the Carterton Events Centre.

Bella Cleary
Bella Cleary
Bella Cleary is a reporter at the Wairarapa Times-Age, originally hailing from Wellington. She is interested in social issues and writes about the local arts and culture scene.

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