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Predator-free education

Educating children on the importance of trapping predators was the goal of a competition organised by Wainui School.

Forty-nine predators were caught over a five week period in the Wainui area by students who made 140 trap tunnels.

The traps were placed around properties in Wainui and Okitu with the hope that native birds would return to the area.

Wainui School teacher Mr Shand organised the competition with support from Nga Manu Waiata (The Bird Song Project), Wainui's local pest control group.

Nga Manu Waiata member Harley Dibble said the outcome has been fantastic, with a lot more traps out in the community.

'We have been able to educate the children on the importance of trapping and its role in making our local environment better for bringing back native birds.

'The parents were behind it and we have had lots of enthusiastic responses from everybody.

'I'm sure a lot of parents are being educated through the process as well.'

Mr Dibble said they would love to hold this competition on a yearly basis.

Nga Manu Waiata member Abigail Salmond said 'the idea of our group was to bring indigenous species back to the Wainui and Okitu area.

'Our mission was to trap predators in every fifth backyard because pests and predators are the biggest threat to the birds.

'It has been fantastic to get the school's involvement because it is not only educating people from a young age, it is also educating their parents.

'We make sure the children and whanau know why they are doing it. It is not just about how many animals you can kill, it is about what the better outcomes are.'

First place in the competition was Nate O'Brien and Leilani O'Brien. Second place Rasmus Stahlhoven and Johanna Stahlhoven. Third place Harry McFarlane and Adele McFarlane.

TRAP comp: Back, from left, Nate O'Brien, first, Rasmus Stahlhoven, second. Middle: Adele McFarlane, third, Johanna Stahlhoven, second, Leilani O'Brien, first. Front: Harry McFarlane, third. Picture by Liam Clayton