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Published: 2012-09-14 00:00:00

A $75,000 fund helping local communities undertake their own pest animal and plant control is proving increasingly popular, Waikato Regional Council’s regional pest management committee has been told.

A report on the Small Scale Community Initiatives Fund said there had been 41 applications for the current financial year, with 26 being accepted in full or in part.

Successful applications ranged from $331 for rat control in Hamilton’s Mangaiti Gully through to $5000 for purchasing 30 gas powered pest animal traps for a project at Silvester Bush in Te Miro.

The Coromandel is home to the largest group by location of successful applicants with twelve being funded, while two community pest control projects around Lake Taupo will receive funding as well.

The Coromandel projects being funded are:

  • Opito Bay Environment group $1,039
  • Habitat Tuateawa $4,800
  • Tapu Restoration Project $1,417
  • Kapowai Kiwi Group Inc $3,900
  • Rings Beach Wetland Project $2,990
  • Kuaotunu Environment Action Inc $4,950
  • Project Kiwi $5,000
  • Moehau Environment Group $4,978
  • Wildlife to the People Tairua $1,031
  • Papa Aroha Pest Line $1,000
  • Mahakirau Forest Estate $4,800
  • Various community initiatives supported through the Coromandel pest officer $5,000

 The Lake Taupo ones are:

  • Pukawa Wildlife Management Trust $5,000
  • “Two Individuals” (Hinemiaia River) Hatepe $4,000

Meanwhile, several applications being funded – including Mangaiti Gully and Silvester Bush - will make a direct contribution to the Halo project. Halo involves pest control at tui breeding sites around Hamilton to help increase the number of tui visiting the city. By providing more habitat with low pest numbers between Halo sites and Hamilton, the successful applicants will further assist the success of the project.

The other groups being funded that will help Halo are:

  • Narrows Road Kahikatea Forest Pest Control $391
  • PirongiaTe Aroaro o Kahu Restoration Society $5,000
  • Wright’s Bush Restoration $1,200

The fund has its roots on the Coromandel where, in 2009, a contractor had a discretionary amount of $10,000 to undertake community-initiated pest control. Local demand saw this amount expanded to $65,000.

Then in 2010-11 the fund was increased by the council to $75,000 and advertised region wide.

“From the outset, the principal purpose of this fund has been to support volunteer community-based groups to undertake animal and plant pest control in the Waikato Region,” the report said. Preference was given to applicants seeking funding for materials.

After yesterday’s committee meeting, chair Laurie Burdett said the fund was a good example of the council’s willingness to support local communities. “A combination of council funding, coupled with local funds and voluntary labour, can make a real difference for communities trying to keep on top of pests.

“It means that more pest control can be undertaken than the regional council working alone and that local communities get support for their initiatives.”