This is the fifth 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. DOC, Pest Free Auckland, and our region’s golf courses 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 Pukepuke as a golf course achieving big wins for nature, communities AND recreation.
A Hole-in-One for Conservation: Muriwai Golf Links
Residents and golfers joined forces to save our precious native plants and animals in Muriwai on West Auckland’s wild and beautiful coast.
To help nature thrive, Muriwai Golf Links, introduced predator trapping on their golf course and keen club members are working to restore habitat.
The links course is shaped by the natural undulation of coastal sand dunes; habitats where many ground-nesting birds lay their eggs. Threatened animals that live nearby, or on, the course include tūturiwhatu (New Zealand dotterel), torea-pango (oystercatcher) and the unique Muriwai gecko.
The Predator Problem
Unfortunately, pests threaten these unique species and the ecosystems they call home. Pests have run wild on the golf course. Rabbits dig burrows on the green, destroy native and rare dune plants like pīngao, and attract other introduced predators with their droppings. Stoats, possums, and rats have also infiltrated the course. They destroy vegetation and attack native animals. –Muriwai had quite the predator problem on their hands.
Working better by working together
Thanks to a growing local Predator Free 2050 movement, the community was equipped to help tackle the problem. Local community group, the Muriwai Environmental Action Community Trust (MeACT), appoached the the Club to join Pest Free Muriwai.
Simultaneously, Auckland Council’s Pest Free Auckland programme funded an Ecological Enhancement Plan for the course. The Club was now equipped with a road map, community knowledge and was ready to act.
Pest Free Muriwai took a lead in the Club’s pest control, coordinating efforts with 400 or so Muriwai households to set traps and bait stations. They used their expertise to time trapping around the breeding cycle of rats. Club members, many of them MeACT members, also brought their time and expertise to trap..
Auckland Council pitched in too. They championed habitat restoration at the Club by providing eco-sourced seedlings and engaging local schools to help plant. Members also also planted and regularly weeded.
Each partner brought a unique skillset to the collaboration. By working together, the groups got even bigger wins for local plants, animals, and communities.
While the project is still in its early days, Club members have already noticed fewer predator species and more tūī and native plants around the course.
They’re also keen to grow their impact by engaging schools. Following recommendations in the Ecological Enhancement Plan, the Club is developing an education and planting programme with schools. The team already enlisted Waimauku School to record and montior species on a dedicated area on the course.
Pretty as a picture
To celebrate this collaborative mahi (work), and reflect their passion for nature, the Club commissioned local artist, Martin Bailey, to produce a mural that features 29 native species found on the course. The final artwork is proudly displayed at the Club’s main entrance, a mural that will be seen by thousands of visitors to the course.
Looking forward, the Muriwai Golf Links team have got their eyes set on a bright future for nature on the course. They aim to be a leading golf club in environmental enhancement and community engagement by joining the Golf Eco Tourist Trail. They’re also exploring opportunities to use renewable energy and recycle water.