A lovely seaside haven for rodents

It’s that time of year in New Zealand when mice and rats move in and share our bubbles as they seek warmth. That means, says Maree White, it’s time for us to work together on being predator free. Paekākāriki has long taken a lead with likely the first backyard trapping group anywhere in New Zealand.

Paekākāriki is a unique village, nestled between the sea and the hills, bounded to the north by Queen Elizabeth Park, and the Paekākāriki Escarpment to the south. It is also a lovely seaside haven for rodents!  It’s at this time of year — when the weather is getting a bit cooler and rodents are seeking more warmth — that we start to notice these cohabiters more, and especially this last month with us being home more than usual. 

Double whammy! Image: Andy McKay

It is also the prime time to ramp up trapping in the village and the group need your help! You can join us in making Paekākāriki predator free! Removing predator species helps to protect all of our native flora and fauna. We have seen tūī and kererū numbers boom over recent years, next we want to see kākā and kākāriki!

“It’s crazy and ambitious, but I think it might be worth a shot. It could be New Zealand’s Apollo program.”

Paul Callaghan
Geoff Osgood and Paul Callister, November 2015 Image: Karoline Tuckey at Stuff

Paekākāriki has been at the forefront of backyard trapping programmes. The Paekākāriki Rat Pack was established in October 2011, and is likely the first backyard trapping group anywhere in New Zealand. A key driver of the idea was Geoff Osgood, along with Aaron Richardson. It started at the north end of the village as part of the Kāpiti Coast District Council Greenest Street competition. 

Recognising that composting and organic waste management systems would offer a greater food source for pests, the Paekākāriki Rat Pack started a rodent and stoat control program. The idea quickly spread through the village. 

Backyard trap coverage in red at the north end of Paekākāriki, June 2012

Geoff organised a number of community working bees at the Paekākāriki motor camp to build traps. Materials in the early days came from many sources, including the use of recycled wood and plastic. 

Working bee, Paekākāriki Motor Camp, 2012

Geoff was also an early adopter of the catch reporting system Trap.nz developed in Paekākāriki by Groundtruth. Trap.nz is now used throughout New Zealand on over 2000 projects and has thousands of active users. 

Heat map of mouse and rat catches from 1 Jan 2015 until present day including Ngā Uruora to the south and Friends of Queen Elizabeth Park to the north. Image from trap.nz

Trapping in our village is at the centre of a larger 2,000 hectare ‘Kāpiti Mainland Island’ which covers the escarpment, parts of the former Perkins far, Whareroa farm and Queen Elizabeth Park. Predator Free Paekākāriki is working in partnership with Ngā Uruora, and other world class conservation groups in the area. For more information about the work to create a Kāpiti Mainland Island click here

Recently there has been revived interest in trapping in the village. Traps were sold by Ngā Uruora at the Paekākāriki Waitangi Day Festival, kindly constructed by students at the Aotea College under the direction of local resident Jason Tamihana-Bryce. 

Huge numbers of traps have been constructed over the years and ended up all over Wellington region!

If you would like to get involved in Predator Free Paekākāriki here’s how:
  1. Backyard trapping – the more traps the better! If you would like to order a trap please complete this form. Traps are $25 in a safe wooden tunnel with proceeds going to Ngā Uruora for conservation on the escarpment and our local little penguins/kororā. 
  2. Already have a trap? – ensure it is freshly baited and checked regularly. It’s a nice time to do a bit of trap maintenance. 
  3. Tracking progress It is important we track progress, identify any hotspots or areas where there maybe gaps, and track progress towards our predator free goal. To register your trap, record and track catches please join the “Predator Free Paekākāriki” project on Trap.nz by searching on this page: Find Projects.
  4. Make your compost bins rodent proof – some great tips on how to compost safely can be found here.
  5. Volunteering as a Predator Free Paekākāriki neighbourhood support – helping out neighbours who are less able or don’t want to check and reset their traps. Email us.
  6. Join the Predator Free Paekākāriki team – we are in the founding stages and would like to hear your ideas and support. Once Covid-19 alert levels are safe we will organise a catch up.  

Useful resources

  • Best practice information about trapping visit Predator Free NZ.
  • How to compost safely – some great tips on how to compost safely can be found here.
  • Tips to make your chicken coops safer for your feather friends and less enticing to rodents!

Stay in touch community updates, support and motivation

  1. Social media Join the Predator Free Paekākāriki Facebook group (previously Paekākāriki Rat Pack)
  2. Group newslettersin the coming months we will explore interest in a newsletter, if there is enough interest for updates on catches, reminders and tips and tricks we will set one up. 


Predator Free Paekākāriki


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Note: Predator Free Paekākāriki currently does not have any dedicated funding. Once the group is established it will work through any funding requirements, and explore funding sources, including grants and partnerships. 

www.paekakariki.nz is a community-built, funded and run website. We’re thrilled with its growing use. If you can help financially, at a time when many supporting local businesses are hurting, we have launched a donation gateway. All funds go to weekly running costs, with huge amounts of professional work donated behind the scenes.