Predator Free Dunedin – a community collaboration

Over just a few years, the idea to coordinate predator control across Dunedin and beyond to bring back the birds became a reality.

By bringing together twenty groups and agencies – including iwi, research institutes, government, and grass-roots community groups – uniting to create a predator free Dunedin, the Whirika team could leverage support and funding to coordinate predator control programmes at a landscape scale.  

The shared vision – to make the city safer for native wildlife, in particular, the birds spreading beyond Orokonui Ecosanctuary’s predator-proof fence. 

Whirika helped set up Predator Free Dunedin Trust and continues to provide strategic oversight and technical advice to ensure the project’s goals and milestones are being met effectively.  

Now, Predator Free Dunedin oversees and supports the rollout of predator control (possums, rats, stoats, ferrets and weasels) across more than 63,000 ha, by working alongside three ‘delivery partners’ (Otago Peninsula Biodiversity Trust, Landscape Connections Trust and Dunedin City Council) to empower and support them with technical, strategic, financial, and communications expertise.

In 2020, Predator Free Dunedin was a finalist in New Zealand’s Sustainable Business Network Awards, as an ‘outstanding collaboration’.

Communication and engagement is at the core of this project, ensuring community ownership and leadership of the mahi.