Towards a predator free peninsula

The Otago Peninsula is a wonderland of wildlife, scenery and heritage. Many of the creatures and plants that give Dunedin the reputation of New Zealand’s Wildlife Capital live and breed on the Peninsula or in surrounding waters.

In 2008, a group of keen Peninsula residents formed the Otago Peninsula Biodiversity Group (OPBG) with the vision of protecting the area’s biodiversity, lifestyle, and economic values by removing introduced mammalian predators. Since then, the OPBG has grown enormously, with over 100 volunteers undertaking a variety of activities. For a complete history of the project, visit the OPBG History Project 2008-2015.

Possum eradication is presently the primary focus of the OPBG in working towards our vision: Predator Free Peninsula 2050.

Since 2011, the OPBG has removed over 16,000 possums from the Otago Peninsula, and that number is increasing by the day. Residents have noticed the positive effects of removing these predators by an increase in native birds, rejuvenated native tree canopies, fruit trees and healthy vegetable gardens. This incredible achievement is all thanks to a huge collaborative effort from volunteers, residents, contractors, the OBPG team, and our funders and supporters!

In 2018, a partnership was established between 20 conservation-focussed groups to form the Predator Free Dunedin initiative which connects each corner of Dunedin to achieve a city-wide shared vision of eradicating predators from our incredible Dunedin city.

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A view of Hereweka / Harbour Cone in the 1870s. The name Hereweka means “to snare weka” and is a clue as to some of the biodiversity we have lost from the Peninsula.

With the goal of a "Pest Free Peninsula", species reintroductions such as weka could become a reality and weka calls could once more be heard from Hereweka.A view at Portobello from the late 1870s is #DunedinNeighbourhoods #32. Prominent on Muaupoko (Otago Peninsula) is Hereweka (Harbour Cone), which means 'to snare weka'. It was named after an incident involving the Kāi Tahu tupuna Tarewai. Read more on this history on Kāi Tahu’s Kā Huru Manu online atlas Ka nui te mihi ki Te Rūnanga o Ngāi Tahu for this wonderful resource.

Photograph by F.A. Coxhead ref: MS-4171/012.
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OPBG is proudly supported by:

Predator Free 2050
Predator Free Dunedin
Department of Conservation
Dunedin City Council
Lotteries Commission
City Forests