February 2004
This report documents community issues associated with pest control on Stewart Island.


This final plan has been built on a valuable foundation of public liaison, the resulting liaison group communication document, and the December 2002 draft plan. The Department of Conservation-released draft indicated a direction for managing pests on Stewart Island. After an introductory presentation of that document, a liaison group was established.  

The liaison group undertook a process that identified and discussed community issues associated with pest control on Stewart Island. The aim was to provide the department with a communication document of the group’s resolutions and recommendations for serious consideration in the decisions made by the department (as the land manager), relating to the management of introduced animals on Stewart Island.

The open public meetings were held monthly on Stewart Island/Rakiura and were attended by members of the Stewart Island/Rakiura community; Forest and Bird representatives; local iwi; New Zealand Deerstalkers Association members; the Game and Forest Foundation; as well as other interested individuals.

Plan Approval  

This plan has been approved by:

Name: Kevin O'Connor 
Delegation/Title:  Conservator, Southland 
Name:  Greg Lind 
Delegation/Title:  Area Manager, Southern Islands 


Stewart Island / Rakiura is New Zealand’s third largest island. It is centred on the New Zealand Map Series 260 grid reference 2120000/5350000. The main landmass is approximately 30 kilometres south of the South Island, separated by Foveaux Strait. It has an area of 168 036 hectares, 750 kilometres of coastline, and a highest point of 980 metres (Mount Anglem / Hananui). Stewart Island / Rakiura has a maritime climate, with a yearly average of 1600 millimetres of rain and average temperatures of 15°C in summer and 9°C in winter. Its only settlement is a township of less than 400 people, situated around two bays on the north east coast. The remainder of the island is composed mainly of public conservation lands (around 90% of the total land area) and some private or Maori owned land blocks. The landscape comprises a range of distinct wilderness types that are both stunning and unique to the area. Consequently, the island is valued nationally as a remote retreat, recreational asset and as a National Park.

This action plan describes proposed animal pest management for a five year period, to allow improvements in ecosystem health in a range of representative areas of Stewart Island. Not all actions described in this action plan are currently funded. This action plan will direct bids for new funding.

Sustainable ecosystem recovery is the prime purpose of the pest control described by this document. Work is focussed at sites of high biodiversity value. To protect a representative area of Stewart Island, part of each ecological district (as defined by Hall and Beaven 2001), needs to be protected.

There are four main sections to this action plan:

Section 1. Management approach

Section 2. Introduced animals

Section 3. Monitoring

Section 4. Timeframe

The first section covers the principles and reasoning behind where we plan to conduct pest control. It gives a brief outline of the management units defined for Stewart Island, and how these units were prioritised for management.

Section two is separated into separate subsections for each animal species. Within these, objectives, performance measures and targets are stated, followed by potential means of achievement. This is followed by a section on survey and monitoring (Section 3). Section Four sets out the timeframe within which all aims should be met.

The term of the action plan is five years. Technology and management techniques relating to pest control are currently developing at a rapid rate. As a result, a ten year action plan risks redundancy well before its completion date. A five year action plan should allow the programme to be well under way, and permit a timely revision of methods. The action plan will be subject to change as new technologies and information become available.

Definition of Terms

Throughout this action plan a number of terms have been used as ‘future statements’. These are defined as follows:

Vision: is the ultimate end state that this action plan strives for. It is not bound by a timeframe.

Outcome Statement: is a statement describing the end state that this action plan hopes to achieve for Stewart Island. This is a ‘time-bound’ statement, limited to the life of this action plan. It is developed from key points in DOC’s guiding policy documents – Stewart Island / Rakiura Conservation Management Strategy, The New Zealand Biodiversity Strategy and Restoring the Dawn Chorus.

Objectives: are the steps in achieving the outcome statement. Objectives should be achieved within the life of this action plan. They are directed at the specific issues being dealt with in each section.

Performance Measures: are the means by which success in achieving objectives will be gauged, e.g. Residual Trap Catch (RTC) levels.

Targets: are the dates by which objectives should be achieved and the levels that are to indicate success, e.g. RTC less than 5% by 1 July 2002.


Stewart Island / Rakiura has had no further native plant or animal extinctions from the main island and their homes (habitats) are protected against further loss or degradation caused by over-browsing, over-use or predation. Stewart Island / Rakiura is a safe place for native species to be maintained, enhanced or re-established after past losses. All people can derive benefit and enjoyment from Stewart Island / Rakiura’s unique environment.

Outcome Statement 

Plant and animal pest control has allowed improvements in natural habitats and ecosystems in a range of representative areas of Stewart Island.  

  • Quality information systems are developed and ongoing programmes exist to maintain their currency (survey and monitoring). These systems are to monitor effectiveness and progress of pest control.
  • Communication with individuals and groups in the community is established and ongoing; opportunities to contribute and be involved in pest management made available; a culture of openness is fostered. 
  • Liaison and co-operation with other agencies, land occupiers (e.g. Rakiura Maori Land Trust) and iwi is achieved. 
  • The department has recognised that its activities will have significant implications for management of RMLT administered lands, and a co-operative working relationship has been fostered.

Publication information

Department of Conservation
PO Box 743
Invercargill, New Zealand

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