When Conservation, community and recreation intersect

Department of Conservation —  08/08/2022

This is the first blog in the A Hole in One for Conservation series.

The Predator Free 2050 (PF2050) goal is working towards an Aotearoa where our native species are safe from extinction and thrive alongside us. This ambitious goal aims to eradicate our three most harmful predators – stoats, rats, and possums – from all of New Zealand. And everyone has a role to play.

Auckland Council’s Pest Free Auckland initiative supports, inspires and motivates local communities to protect and restore nature in Tāmaki Makaurau. Together, with Pest Free Auckland, and our region’s golf courses we are working together to champion predator control, habitat restoration, and sustainability on golf courses. With 500,000 regular players and clubs across the country, the golfing community is in a unique position to lead local action for our precious native species. Below, we highlight Pupuke as a golf course achieving big wins for nature, communities AND recreation.

A Hole in One for Conservation: Pupuke

Nestled in Centennial Park on Auckland’s North Shore, Pupuke is a golf club that offers two sets of nine holes, and so much more. With the philosophy to be “the leading environment for golf, social connection and community on the Shore”, the Club removed both their fence and the words ‘Golf Club’ from their name to welcome their community in.

Rather than be pigeonholed as a club for golfers, Pupuke embrace their community and conservation work.

Protecting nature and building community connections

Pupuke works closely with local conservation group Centennial Park Bush Society (CPBS) on mutually beneficial projects such as pest and predator control and converting unused green spaces into native habitat. Many of the Club’s members also belong to CPBS and lead working bees for the Club.

The clubhouse functions as a community facility for events to provide end-to-end public service to their community. To further this kaupapa /initiative, they removed both their fence and words ‘golf club’ from their name to encourage non-golfers to recreate at the club. They invited locals to walk their dogs and enjoy evening strolls in the beautiful shaded surroundings. COVID-19 lockdowns encouraged people to explore their local green spaces, fast-tracking their vision. They see the course as an important part of a wider ecosystem, so decided to start their GEO (Golf Environmental Organisation) certification journey.

The process has given them an enormous sense of pride about the conservation work they currently do, while opening their eyes to other conservation and sustainability actions. To assist Pupuke and CPBS, Auckland Council (AC) designed an Ecological Enhancement Plan for Centennial Park to provide a pathway to reduce pests and predators and restore native habitat.

Wins for nature

Their community-driven approach, relationship with CPBS, AC Ecological Enhancement Plan, and GEO certification has led to big wins for nature:

  • 2,000  natives trees and shrubs planted by hundreds of volunteers, from school age to retirees
  • A significant increase in native birds including kererū, kōtare / kingfisher and even a pīpīwharauroa / shining cuckoo due to pest control and habitat restoration
  • A switch from chemical to natural products to manage greenkeeping
New Zealand pigeon/kererū at Taieri Mouth 
Image: Sabine Bernert 
📷: Marie-Louise Myburgh

The future

Pupuke isn’t done working for thriving communities and nature. As a next step, they are working with Watercare to reuse their grey wastewater on the course by diverting it from the sea. This solution is cost-effective for Pupuke while and benefiting the environment and communities.

Get involved in Predator Free 2050

Curious how you or your business can join courses like Pupuke in getting involved in Predator Free 2050? Learn more about finding your local group, trapping in your community, and getting the whole whānau involved.

3 responses to When Conservation, community and recreation intersect


    As a golfer at Pupuke golf course I appreciate the planning and planting that happens around the park by the Centennial Park Bush Society. To have a recognition and update of successes from the Department of Conservation who overview such vast areas of New Zealand is wonderful, thankyou.


    Great community use and wonderful to enjoy the beautiful bush and birdlife along side golf and walking tracks

    Anne Coplestone 08/08/2022 at 5:02 pm

    So warms the heart to hear the success stories….well done