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Mystery Creek Predator Free Community Hub helps further Waikato’s conservation goals

Mystery Creek has been designated a predator-free hub and is now joining forces with local protection groups to extend its reach and help further the Waikato’s conservation goals.

Conservation and protection have been a large focus for the NZ National Fieldays Society over the past 12 months. With an investment programme and support from DOC and the Waikato Regional Council, the Society undertakes predator control on the entire 114-hectare Mystery Creek property.

Now the Society is teaming up with Predator-Free Hamilton and Cambridge to create the Predator Free Mystery Creek Community Hub.

The Community Hub will bring together local neighbours, Iwi, businesses, and schools, to educate, inspire and provide support for their own biodiversity and predator control efforts.

The Society has secured funding from the Waikato Regional Council Environmental Initiatives Fund to run the Hub over the next two years.

“As a Community Hub, we will provide predator traps for our neighbours and will offer ongoing support and training days,” says Society CEO Peter Nation. “We would like to see this as a place where in the future, schools can visit and learn more, with a focus on science and innovation in the environmental space.

“Critically endangered Long Tail Bats and Long Finned Eels reside at Mystery Creek, and on neighbouring properties, and Kaka often visit too.

“The Hub is designed not only to protect these species, but also to encourage the wider community to get involved in predator trapping.

“The Society is well connected with extensive networks. This initiative will give us the opportunity to leverage these relationships to champion conservation and protection in the greater Waikato region.”

More than 75 traps have been installed across the property so far, with more scheduled to go in. The traps are currently serviced weekly by four community volunteers, with more than 80 rats, 140 possums and 31 hedgehogs caught since 30th August 2019.

The team uses the Trap.NZ App to record every catch, keep an accurate record of where they are catching different pests and create valuable reports from the data. Used and funded by many of New Zealand’s regional councils, Trap.NZ is an on-the-ground tool for mapping, locating and managing traps, and monitoring site and bait station records.

DOC is also installing bat monitors on the property to detect bat activity and determine where they are roosting.

Waikato Regional Council Project Manager: Biodiversity and Funding, Judy van Rossem, says the Mystery Creek Events Centre is a strategic location for a predator free hub.

“The Society’s work at Mystery Creek aligns well with Predator Free Hamilton, Predator Free Cambridge and the Hamilton Halo Project.

“The Community Hub initiative offers a unique opportunity to further conservation goals in the Waikato region.

“The National Fieldays Society has access to a far wider section of the community than typical conservation projects, which means they are also in a good position to promote, support and advocate for biodiversity and predator control in our region.”

The Society’s conservation and protection efforts are part of their long-term commitment to sustainable practice, for which they recently won the Social and Environmental Sustainability Award at the 2020 Westpac Waikato Business Awards.

Fieldays is the only ISO 20121 certified sustainable agricultural event in New Zealand. The Society incorporated the Sustainable Events Standard into its management procedures in 2012.