Whakaupoko Landcare Group

(Published on 24th November 2011)

Whakaupoko Landcare Group.

Originally named Baldhill Landcare, the Whakaupoko Landcare Group is an established community driven group made up of more than 100 households, who all share an interest in protecting and enhancing native biodiversity.

Centered around Baldhill, in the West Franklin area of the Waikato, the group originally operated in a geographical area covering about 2,500ha. However their successful pest control efforts have seen this extend to nearly 6,000ha. Local resident and Landcare Group representative George Flavell explains that Baldhill was also known as Whakaupoko which is interpreted as The Head or Summit. This prominent geographical feature used to be the dominant Pa for the whole Peninsula, under Ngati Te Ata.

Although most of the land no longer retains it's native vegetation there are still significant areas available (nearly 10%), most of which is fenced off from livestock. This includes three sites totalling 43ha identified by Waikato Regional Council as Significant Natural Areas (SNA).

With the dominance of Taraire, the area is a key breeding area for the Kereru, (wood pigeon). One of the Landcare Group's key objectives is to increase the population of these native birds - the aim is to see a five fold increase over the next five years.

The area is also important for native bat species so the Group aims to preserve and enhance the local population. Other objectives include a plan to establish a permanent population of Kaka before 2015.

A key to achieving these objectives is effective pest control. Initial energy is primarily focused on possum and rat control using traps and bait stations. Monitoring the success of this work provides useful information and helps with future control methods and targeting. The Whakaupoko Landcare Group use Chew Cards to do this - a pest identification tool that uses distinctive bite marks.

The more people involved the better, so the local community are encouraged to help out. Links with local authorities, science providers and NZ Landcare Trust are also seen to be important - good support can greatly enhance results on the ground. More information about the group can be found on their website>

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