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Oban, Stewart Island. Photo: Getty Images
The "ambitious vision" to back nature on the island would make it the "largest inhabited predator free island in the world". Photo: Getty Images

Conservation Minister Eugenie Sage is celebrating a "significant milestone" towards making Stewart Island (Rakiura) predator free.

Today the minister signed a commitment to rid the island of pests with groups including councils, interest groups and iwi.

Ms Sage said the "ambitious vision" to back nature on the island would make it the "largest inhabited predator free island in the world".

Predator Free Rakiura aims to remove rats, possums, feral cats and hedgehogs from the mainland and islands of Rakiura.

The islands are already free of stoats, weasels, ferrets, pigs and goats.

Conservation Minister and Green Party MP Eugenie Sage. Photo: NZME
Conservation Minister and Green Party MP Eugenie Sage. Photo: NZME
It is home to unique endemic plants and wildlife such as the endangered Rakiura tokoeka kiwi, the Stewart Island Robin, and Harlequin gecko which are not found anywhere else in the world.

The memorandum of understanding was signed by Awarua Rūnanga, Oraka-Aparima Rūnanga, Waihōpai Rūnanga, Hokonui Rūnanga, Te Rūnanga o Ngāi Tahu, Rakiura Māori Lands Trust, Rakiura Tītī Islands Administering Body, Rakiura Tītī committee, the Department of Conservation, the  Southland District Council, the Southland Regional Council, Real Journeys and the New Zealand Deerstalkers’ Association.

Ms Sage said it was "an exciting step forward for both the local Rakiura/Stewart Island community and conservation across Aotearoa".

"As such, it is a significant project in the national Predator Free 2050 goal. Rakiura/Stewart Island is home to many threatened species whose ongoing survival globally depends on conservation right here."

She described the move as "significant".

Funding from the latest budget allowed for predator control of $81.2 million over four years and enabled the Department of Conservation to scale up its response to the biggest mast event in 40 years.

Comments

This is awesome news. A unique environment and a national treasure, Rakiura and all New Zealanders will be the better for it. Can they also include deer on the list?

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