Ngāti Pāhauwera take pest eradication into own hands

Ngāti Pāhauwera are not going to be forced into letting poison into their Mōhaka Forest and have said no to a 1080 drop.

According to Derek Huata, “It kills every living species in the forest and we're here to look after our taonga, we're not going to be dictated to as to how we should look after it.”

Last month, they protested against a planned aerial drop of 1080 in their forest, citing the damage it would cause in their area.

Farrell Tihema believes, “It kills a lot of our native animals we hunt and use and live on a lot of the people around here it’s our pātaka our freezer so we want to look after what we can gather there.”

The iwi are instead taking pest control into their own hands and implementing a business plan to reduce possum numbers and generate income.

Jim Lewis has been making a living by possum trapping for the last 25 years.  He supplies meat for pet food and fur for luxury items, he says the demand is huge.

“The supplier wants 300 tonne and he's only getting 150 tonne so it would be good to train it and make employment," said Lewis.

The pest control teams will then be armed with the right skills and knowledge to ensure pest control in their forest will become a reality.