TOSSI - United against predators

By: Roger Grove

The Tāwharanui Open Sanctuary Society (TOSSI) works in partnership with the Auckland Council. Among much other activity, we expend a lot of effort to protect the sanctuary from pests such as rats, stoats and possums. With TOSSI’s help, many species have returned to breed or been reintroduced to the sanctuary, including takahē, kiwi, pāteke (brown teal), kākāriki, korimako (bellbird), toutouwai (NZ robin), kākā, pōpokotea (whitehead), tīeke and seabirds.

Recently, someone said to me that TOSSI and the other entities involved in local conservation must get annoyed with other groups getting in their way. Nothing could be further from reality.

At Tāwharanui, we rely on volunteers and Auckland Council efforts to keep pests out of the sanctuary in order to protect endangered species, be they birds, reptiles or fish. But these efforts would be futile without the support of others along with their independent work to help control the buffer zone. It is, however, not only pest control that we need support for. The recent highly publicised escape of two takahe from the sanctuary is one example. Their recovery required not only a great effort from Council staff and volunteer supporters but also support from neighbours. Without landowner willingness to allow access to their properties, the recovery would have been so much more difficult. To all of them, thank you.

Mammalian predators remain the key challenge for Tāwharanui. The seriousness of any incursion emphasises the importance of the buffer zone around the sanctuary. This includes Waimaru Farm (which adjoins the sanctuary and includes a large area of kauri bush) and other close neighbours, but also the Takatu Peninsula generally. Making the buffer zone pest-free must be a high priority. Auckland Council is fortunate to have the cooperation of the owners of Waimaru Farm. To assist with this one of our friends, The Forest Bridge Trust, has created a Pest Management Plan for the significant bush blocks on the property, which includes several traplines with many traps and bait stations. The Trust’s management of these traplines helps to protect our boundaries.

Meanwhile, The Takatū Landcare Community Group has a community pest management coordinator who supports individual property owners and community groups on Takatū Peninsula with their pest control efforts. This is helping to increase awareness of the pest problem. There are now active pest control community groups at Waikauri Bay, Christian Bay, Baddeleys/Campbells Beach, Buckleton Beach, Whitmore Road and Takatū Road. Pest control on private land is improving throughout the peninsula. Again, this helps to protect our boundaries. There are many other small community-based groups also working towards the same goal. We count them all as our friends.  We encourage anyone who is keen to get involved. Check out our website,, or email me at and I’ll put you in touch with the right person.

Roger Grove, Tāwharanui Open Sanctuary Society


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