Archives For Gareth Morgan

By Wendy Sullivan, Partnerships Ranger, Picton

Picton Pestival logo. Last March I was watching the news on the television when a story came on about a ‘Pestival‘ (a pest festival would you believe!) in the small town of Picton.

The Pestival was run by a community group at the Kaipupu Point Sounds Wildlife Sanctuary, and had Gareth Morgan as guest speaker – coincidently it was not long after Gareth had the hit headlines regarding his Cats to Go campaign. Over 500 people came to this local event.

Little did I know that 12 months later I would be living in Picton, and would end up meeting the charismatic organisers of the second annual Pestival—Jenny Keene, Jo O’Connell and Chrissy Powlesland.

This time around I was determined to be a part of the event and to help make it even bigger and better than the previous year.

The Pestival is a uniquely kiwi, ‘heartland party’ to raise funds for Kaipupu Point, a predator fenced reserve located right next to the ferry terminals in Picton.

The Pestival also aims to raise awareness of pests and predators, and the focus is on what you can do in your backyard—whether it’s planting bird friendly trees, building weta houses, or learning how to trap.

The Raticators - Peter Hobson and Helen Crook.

The Raticators – Peter Hobson and Helen Crook

I have heard from locals who attended the Pestival last year that they were able to go away knowing the difference between a Norway rat and a ship rat, and which trap is the best one to use for a certain type of pest.

The day’s entertainment includes live music, food, local delicacies, environmental speakers, mini-workshops, conservation and trapping stalls, a market place, a pest contest, fancy dress prizes and a children’s programme.

Rat in a tree.

Rat nibbling a sign

Visit Kaipupu Point

With natural ecosystems flourishing in an almost completely pest free environment, Kaipupu Point is well worth a visit. It’s open year-round and free for everyone to enjoy.

Pestival 2014 — Saturday 22 March

The second annual Pestival will be held on Saturday 22 March 2014 11 am—6 pm, at the Waitohi Domain, Picton.

More information is available on the DOC website.

If you love the idea of Wellington becoming the wildlife capital of New Zealand, then you’re going to love Enhancing the Halo – a new conservation initiative backed by the Morgan Foundation. Today, Nick Tansley from the Foundation, tells us what it’s all about.

Enhancing the halo is all about creating a safe haven for all of our native creatures in our backyards in Wellington. We want to make the most of all the work put into the wildlife hotspots around Wellington such as Zealandia, Otari-Wilton’s Bush and Oruaiti Reserve.

Bellbird. Adult male. Dunedin, 2009-7. Image © Craig McKenzie.

Enhancing the halo will help protect bellbirds and other native species

One part of the project is about focussing on how to deal with pests on our sections and I am finding this to be a really exciting area. The specialists working alongside Enhancing the Halo are breaking new ground in urban pest control.

Families that I have talked to are also really keen to get cracking into a project they can do at home and that involves hands on activities.

Recently I visited St Mark’s Church school with Gareth Morgan. The classroom was filled with bright eyed kids who made us both feel welcome and were eager to ask questions. It was great to see that their science teachers were already exploring many environmental issues with their students. These students were well informed and already passionate about conservation.

Gareth talking to seniors at St Mark's Church School. Photo from St Mark's Church School.

Gareth talking to students at St Mark’s Church School.

We asked the Year 7 and 8 students to put up their hands if they wanted to start trapping predators. Every boy’s arm was thrust to the ceiling as if we had asked “who likes free ice-cream?” Girls were a little more conservative, wanting to learn more before committing to killing things.

Capturing the children’s enthusiasm for action, and their parent’s desire for making an ecological difference, gives us hope that Wellington can bring back the dawn chorus.

Watch a video of New Zealand’s dawn chorus:

Live in Wellington? Become a Halo Household

Sign up to be a Halo Household and make your backyard a haven for native wildlife. You’ll also get:

–  a chance to win a $5000 backyard make over
–  your views aired on discussion boards
–  experts addressing your halo issues
–  access to pest trapping equipment
–  a Halo Household welcome pack and a Halo Household sticker

For more information and to sign up go to the Enhancing the Halo website.