Introduction

Brent Beaven, Programme Manager for Predator Free 2050, reflects on what’s been achieved so far and what's needed to ensure the success of this ambitious goal to rid New Zealand of possums, rats and stoats.

Date:  22 September 2017

Brent Beaven.
Brent Beaven, Programme Manager Predator Free 2050
Image: DOC

Since stepping into the programme role a month ago, I’ve been exploring what’s going on, talking and listening to key players in the predator free space.

It’s been really pleasing to see so much strategic and deep thinking around how we’re going to maximise our effect in this area.

My role focusses on coordination, both internally around DOC and also around the relationships with the other players in this space.

While some critics say that the goal is overly ambitious, I believe setting 2050 as a target helps guide the rate of change and builds momentum towards conservation on a bigger scale.

The whole ball-park’s changing. If you look back 30 years, technology and the way we do things has changed drastically.

Looking forward, there’s likely to be scientific breakthroughs, as well as incremental improvements like self-resetting traps and long-life lures will also enable us to do our work more efficiently.

But what’s likely to have the biggest impact is the growing enthusiasm of communities and the momentum that’s generated from having such a clear, aspirational and shared goal. We used to believe that you couldn’t manage kiwi or control pests on the mainland, but now we’re doing that on a large scale and achieving what no-one imagined in respect to the health of the forest and the birds.

That success has led to a plethora of communities, iwi and public and private organisations coming on board, as well as a huge and growing army of volunteers doing their bit all over the country.

As community effort across the country continues to grow, we’re likely to see groups start to form alliances, enabling them to work more effectively on a greater, more regional scale

More about Brent

One of the strengths Brent brings to the role, is an understanding of a diverse range of work areas and stakeholders. He started work at DOC 20 years ago, chasing birds around the Pureora, Murupara and Te Urewera, then moved to Stewart Island/Rakiura to manage the biodiversity programme. 

He stayed on the island and took on other roles including National Hunting Advisor and Conservation Services Manager for Southern Islands. He also spent a year scoping the potential to eradicate rats, cats and possums from Stewart Island. His most recent role was as a Conservation Advisor in the office of the Minister of Conservation.

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