Pest control

Our river ecosystem

Pest control is a vital part of regenerating Te Wairoa river. The native plants, birds, frogs and lizards that are a valuable part of the river’s ecosystem are under threat from introduced predators such as possums, rats, stoats, ferrets and weasels. These pests destroy plants and trees essential to the river’s health and reduce the biodiversity and balance of the river ecosystem.

Friends of Te Wairoa is tackling the growing problem of pests by:

  • Raising community awareness about the need for controlling pests

  • Finding out what pest control methods work best locally

  • Keeping up with the latest information on pest control

  • Giving landowners advice on pest control for their properties

  • Providing free traps and baits in exchange for regular reporting of catch data

  • Monitoring pests and pest control in the area.

Pest control

Pest Control Co-ordinator Lenny van Heugten organises regular Bait and Trap days in Ararimu, Ardmore, Hunua, Ness Valley and Clevedon. At these half-day weekend sessions residents can drop in to find out about different trapping methods, the range of traps and bait available. These days are also a chance to talk to an expert and receive tailored advice about how best to control pests on your property and receive free bait and traps.

Sign up to our regular pest control newsletter to find out when Bait and Trap days are planned for the coming months and to receive handy tips to make your pest control easier.

To get in touch with our Pest Control Co-ordinator and see how she can help you, email Lenny on

Trapping tips & tricks

Here are some top tips and tricks to help you trap pests more effectively. They’ve come from a mixture of Auckland Council recommendations and suggestions and practical lessons learnt by members of the Friends of Te Wairoa.

There is no one correct way to control pests. They are intelligent and learn to be wary of new things, and can also pass on these behaviours to others. This means it is important that we constantly change our mode of attack, so that they are caught unawares, literally!

Rats and mice


  • Bait lines 100m apart

  • Bait stations or traps every 50m along a trap line

  • 25m spacings between traps or stations on boundaries (not needed where neighbours are also trapping)

  • Place traps near a waterway, or along a fence line/retaining wall. They like to be able to run between areas using what ‘shelter’ they can, rather than being in the open.


  • Peanut butter or Nutella (also smear it on bait bags to increase the attraction)

  • Kibbled wheat/oats/other grain mixed with peanut butter or Nutella

  • Using a lighter, melt a small piece of cheese to the trigger mechanism.


  • Attach T-rex traps to a board to place further into holes e.g. under a house/in a ceiling. This also helps to prevent an animal running away with the trap.

  • Build a tunnel around rat traps to make them more attractive. This can be as simple as a board base with corflute or other rigid plastic stapled tunnel-fashion on top.

  • Pop wax bait blocks on a nail on fenceposts, with a half milk bottle on top to protect them from the weather.

  • If you don’t have enough bait stations, an ice-cream container does the job just as well. Cut a C-shaped hole in the edge of the tub for an entry hole, and attach the lid with the bagged bait stuck between the lid and the tub. Think about water if it is out in the open – you may need to fashion a kind of awning to prevent rain getting in.



  • At the base of an attractive tree or in a grove of trees e.g. in an orchard, the base of a large palm or large natives

  • Near waterways that they would use to drink from

  • Near a pathway that they might use e.g. a fence line, farm track


  • A cut apple with cinnamon rubbed on the cut side

  • Carrot (with cinnamon)

  • Feijoas, citrus or other fruit they enjoy

  • Mix flour, water and either curry powder, aniseed or cinnamon to create an attractive paste.


  • You can attach a Timm’s or trapinator to a board, so that it is elevated from pets and easier to move around rather than attaching directly to a tree.

  • Buy cinnamon in bulk e.g. Bin Inn - $7 for 500g vs $2 for 45g in supermarkets.


These include stoats, weasels and ferrets.


  • Approximately one trap per 15ha

  • On flat ground so that the trap is stable and doesn’t rock

  • Near a waterway or along a fence line/retaining wall. (They like to be able to run between areas using what ‘shelter’ they can, rather than being in the open.)


  • A whole, raw egg – also functions as a visual lure. When changing this, throw it into the bushes nearby to attract mustelids to the area of the trap.

  • Fish/salmon (raw or cooked)

  • Meat scraps from dinner (raw or cooked)

  • Possum or rabbit meat from recent catch.


  • Rub a freshly caught possum or mustelid on the trap. The scent will attract mustelids.

  • Disturb the ground near the entrance by pulling out grass or roughing up leaves.



  • The best mode of attack is to shoot these pests.

  • Use a live trap with a trigger plate, using vegetables as the lure with a vegetable trail leading into the trap.

  • Sometimes the smell of a rabbit who has urinated or left droppings is enough to entice another rabbit into the trap.

Photos: Jodie Little, Stephen Nicholson, Tony Thompson, Brendan Vallings


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