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Published: 2001-05-23 00:00:00

Possum control could be on the cards for the northern Hakarimata Range, with the Northern Hakarimata Walkway Committee, the Department of Conservation and Environment Waikato working together with landowners to come up with a management plan.

The Northern Hakarimata Walkway Committee recently received a grant from the Perry Foundation to help fund possum control in northern part of the Ranges. Most of the control work will occur on Department of Conservation managed land, but some private properties will also require control work.

Initial consultation with iwi and local landowners has been going well, Environment Waikato’s Biosecurity Liaison Officer Phillip Brown said. Nearly all of the landowners spoken to have been in favour of possum control in the Range and the surrounding land.

“With this support from the community it is very likely that this promising operation will go ahead.”

Walkway Committee convenor Darrell Carey said the group was excited to have the project go ahead. Controlling pests in the area was essential to improve the bush and ensure its progress towards recognition as a mainland island.

Because of the size of the operation, Environment Waikato will contract professional possum control contractors to undertake the operation in September this year. A range of control methods will be used, depending on topography and practicality. Human and livestock safety is critical when deciding what methods to use.

DoC, the Medical Officer of Health and the Waikato District Council must give their approval before any work commences, along with any landowners who will be affected by the work.

Possum control is planned for the northern half of the Range only this year, but it is likely the operation will expand to the southern half of the Range in the next couple of years. To reduce possum re-invasion from the south, regular control work will be done in a zone between the north and south.

There will be a public meeting held in Huntly at 7.30pm on Thursday, May 31 at the Civic Room, Main St so that anyone interested can find out more about the proposal. The public is encouraged to attend, support the proposal and ask questions.