Pestival 2023

Listed: 13th May 2023

On 12th and 13th May, we hosted two Pestival hui events in Wānaka and Queenstown. The aim was to bring together people from the local community-led conservation groups whom we support, along with relevant organisations such as Department of Conservation, expert guest speakers from around New Zealand and trustees and staff of the Southern Lakes Sanctuary Trust. Turnout was great with over 130 people attending the two events.

John Bissell from Backblocks Environmental in the Wairarapa shared fantastic trapping techniques and tips. Know your target animal, use specific baits/traps, and think like a predator hunter!

Gavin White from the Forest & Bird Tautuku Restoration Project (Catlins) let us in on some of the immense challenges of working towards Predator Free in an isolated location without a big team.

Kim Miller shared some of the successes of the Halo Project – Beyond Orokonui’s work in the wider Dunedin area and Otago Peninsula. Data about the effectiveness of AT220 self-resetting possum traps was very interesting.

Paul Kavanagh gave us a great overview into the work done by the growing team of the Southern Lakes Sanctuary. Many of our guests left knowing a lot more about the overall picture of work that they are contributing to.

Bridget Carter gave us a sneak peak into the planning behind Predator Free Rakiura – likely to be the largest predator eradication project of an inhabited island that the world has ever seen.

And finally we heard from Brett Butland about some of the projects being supported by Predator Free 2050 Limited. New tech and science are at the forefront of these fantastic initiatives.

The positive outcomes of Pestival were too numerous to fit here! Most of all, we all enjoyed face-to-face exchanges of valuable knowledge, connecting with others in the conservation world, and sharing good kai with a motivated group of committed conservationists. We went away feeling like we’re all part of something much larger – the Predator Free 2050 movement in Aotearoa!


A huge THANK YOU! to everyone involved in making these events successful, including our guest speakers, attendees, organisers, food preparers, venue providers and funders.

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