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Project type:
Conservation project
Branches involved:
Regions involved:
North Island

Help us remove pests from Hibiscus Coast so native wildlife can flourish. Click here to get more involved.


A safe, healthy habitat for native plants and animals transitioning from sanctuaries at Tiritiri Matangi and Shakespear, along the peninsula and surrounding areas, enjoyed and cared for by the community.

Nature is one of the things that makes the Hibiscus Coast a special place. But our lifestyle and our native wildlife is under threat from pest animals.

Rats, stoats and possums were brought here by humans and destroy native birds, eggs, chicks and insects. Rats and stoats also kill native lizards. Possums and rats hinder the regeneration of native forest by eating seeds, and seedlings – did you know that ten possums can consume over a tonne of bush in a year!

Pest free hibiscus coast logo

Over 25 million birds, eggs and chicks are killed every year by introduced predators in New Zealand’s native forests alone, if we include residential areas like ours, this figure is likely to increase to 100 million.

About 74% of native birds and 84% of native lizards are threatened with or at risk of extinction in New Zealand. Many of these are found nowhere else in the world. More than 50 species of native birds have been seen on the coast and 20 of these are categorized as at risk. Bellbirds (korimako) sometimes visit people’s gardens and are even known to be breeding here. Saddlebacks (tīeke) and North Island robins (toutouwai) have been introduced to Shakespear Open Sanctuary and sometimes fly outside the predator proof fence into neighbouring properties.

Many different native lizards live on the coast, including the ornate skink and green gecko, and we also plan to survey the area for rare native bats.

Without predator control, rats, stoats and possums will destroy our native creatures and take over our wild places. We are the kaitiaki of our place. Let’s not put any more species at risk on our watch!

Song thrush nest being predated by two rats

Photo credit: Nga Manu images

Our story

The Hibiscus Coast is a perfect place to eradicate pests, because the peninsula can be defended against invasions.

The project started in 2011, after the predator proof fence was installed at Shakespear, with the first trap line being installed in 2014 at Karaka Cove reserve. The project was founded by Pauline Smith who has since received a Forest & Bird Tī Kouka award for her incredible efforts. The project now extends across 3100 hectares of the Hibiscus Coast. We can already see the benefits of controlling predators, because native plants and birdlife are flourishing – our annual bird surveys are showing more exciting results each year. However, the threat is still there and we need your help.

From 2014-2019 the project has been focused on installing predator control lines in parks and reserves in partnership with Auckland Council, as well as some large areas of public land, such as Gulf Harbour and Whangaparaoa Golf Courses both of which are very supportive of our work. Until 2019 we managed trap lines and other conservation activity at Orewa Estuary as its own project, supported by Hibiscus and Bays Local Board. However this year we have incorporated it into Pest Free Hibiscus Coast to strengthen the connections with the rest of our predator control work and community engagement. All lines are made up of secure bait stations and traps, and are maintained by trained volunteers. Our incredible volunteers contribute over 5000 hours each year to this project and carry out a range of roles in addition to trapping, such as helping with events, administration and communications.

In 2019 we recruited our first paid project staff, Jenny Hanwell as Project Manager and Rhiannon Thomas as Field Officer. A Project Plan has been written to help us move from predator control to eradication – and that involves the whole community.

In addition to expanding the number of trap lines on reserves, we are aiming for at least 1 in 4 households to be trapping in their backyards and more and more people are joining us, with 245 people starting trapping in summer 2019-20. View our full project timeline here.

People involved in backyard trapping record the locations of their traps and what they catch, so we know the impact we are having and can gain an insight into what’s happening with predator populations.

We want as many people as possible to get involved. We’re all responsible for looking after nature and together we can make a massive difference.

Our Hub Model

To make our backyard trapping programme more focused and effective, we have split the 3100ha project area into 12 “Hubs”. Each area includes 1500-2000 properties, and we will be recruiting Hub Activators and a network of volunteers to drive action in these areas. We want to bring the community together towards a common goal that can be sustained over time – and we need your help!

Work with Schools

We also work with schools from upper primary through to college level, and offer educational talks and trap box building. The main purpose of this is to enable more families to start trapping in their backyards and to inform and enthuse our young people in conservation and how they can make a difference. Several schools also have trap lines on their school grounds maintained by the students. 

Primary school kids with pest-free Hibiscus coast traps

What can you do

A Forest & Bird volunteer with a pest-free Hibiscus coast Backyard trap

  1. Get a pet safe rat trap for your backyard on long term loan from the Pest Free Hibiscus Coast Project. It’s yours for as long as you live in the area on the map and record your catches. The wooden trap boxes are currently built by Auckland Grammar School technology students, with materials being funded by Auckland Council. They include an easy to use T-Rex rat trap that has been approved by NAWAC as a humane option for rat trapping.

    In 2020 we are catalysing backyard trapping in the following Hub areas with the goal of getting 1 in 4 households trapping: Gulf Harbour North – Army Bay and Red Beach East across to the Weiti river. If you live in these areas you will start to hear of more events and activity in your area, and you can get your trap right away using our sign up form below (pending Covid-19 restrictions). Outside of these areas, you can get trapping as well, by teaming up with your neighbours. See option 2, or become a Pest Free Boatie, option 3. View our Hub Map to see which hub you live in.
    Pest free Hibiscus Coast - Primary Hub areas map
    In return, we ask that you register your trap on our online recording system, based on Trap.NZ. You will need to record when you set your trap and when you catch something. As Pest Free Hibiscus Coast is dependent on grant funding, if you are able, a koha / donation is welcome towards our work. Click here to email the Project Manager for details on

    Sign-Up form for Red Beach East – Weiti Hub

    Sign Up form for Gulf Harbour – Army Bay Hub

    If you want to get a trap but don’t live in these areas you can contact us to purchase one.

  2. Get your neighbours or community group involved – If you are in our outside of our 2020 Hub areas it’s still much more effective to do this as a neighbourhood. So we ask that you get at least 5 of your neighbours interested and we can arrange for a set of traps to be delivered to you. Can you help those who can’t trap? Host a street barbecue and get a group together to take action where you are. Download our neighbourhood trapping invitation template from the link below. Sign up form for neighbourhood groups

    Already got a trap or bait station? Join our project! Register with us and let us know where you are and when you catch something or get bait taken. Contact us or create an account on Then find the Pest Free Hibiscus Coast Project Hub for your area to send us a join request to get your own trap number.

    If you are part of a community group, sports team or other interest group, get in touch to discuss how we can work together to start your group trapping.
  3. Become a Pest Free Boatie! Do you have a boat in Gulf Harbour Marina? Or you have a boat at home or moored in the river / dry dock that you sail out to or near to Pest Free Islands? Here on the Hibiscus Coast we love our boats and sailing the Hauraki Gulf, but we need to make sure we aren’t carrying rats in our gear or on our boat when we go. As well as checking your stuff, sign up below to receive a rat trap for your backyard on long term loan from the project. 
  4. Start possum trapping - contact us to borrow a trap for 6 weeks or order one here.
  5. Volunteer – we can train you to look after a line of traps or bait stations on a park or reserve near you. We currently have 80 volunteers working with us and run training sessions every two months depending on interest levels. We are also looking for people to help with events, survey birds and lizards, control pest plants or support neighbourhood groups. There is a role for everyone, whether you have a little or a lot of time to give.
  6. Support the Hibiscus Coast Branch of Forest and Bird by purchasing professional quality rat bait and bait station from us. Order here.  We also very much welcome donations and offers of fundraising events, and we encourage you to become a member of Forest & Bird today. 
  7. Business sponsorship. Got a business and want to give back and protect the environment? Talk to us today. Businesses on the coast have already started to support us by donating time, resources, event spaces and funding through special events, we’d love you to join them.

Want to get involved but based elsewhere in the Hibiscus and Bays Local Board area? Contact Restore Hibiscus and Bays, the umbrella network of conservation groups that we are part of. Email:

Ready to take part? Contact Project Coordinator Jenny Hanwell today.

Thank you to our main funders Auckland Council and Foundation North for supporting this project.

Project or Reserve contact

Jenny Hanwell

Last updated:

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