Tag Archives: pest control


A BIG THANK YOU to the 18 fine folk (including two grandchildren) who turned up for the working bee at the Top O’ The Hill yesterday. A great scene of spraying, weeding, raking, digging, metal-spreading, mowing, clipping, and general tidying, all of which has made the area ready for the many tourists and locals to enjoy over the Summer.

A very convivial and hard-working group who represent the pride of Opua!

A community effort that was topped off by an excellent morning tea with jam and cream scones and cheese rolls.
Thanks to you all.
A set of secateurs was left behind – owner contact me.

Frank Leadley

If you have a project idea for Opua, please email us!



Don’t forget the Working Bee this Saturday 8 October, 9.00 – 11.00 am

We have organised a trailer of metal to fill the pot holes in the parking area.

lady-gardenOur main tasks will be to weed the gardens and to trim back the plants and the edges. So secateurs, weeding implements, spades, etc will be the main implements required. Containers for weeds will be helpful.


Vanessa will bring scones for morning tea but other help with food, and hot water and the makings for a cup of tea or coffee would be much appreciated. Phone Vanessa on 4027650.

A great chance to demonstrate the fantastic Opua Community spirit.

See you there.


How much do you know about kererū?

The Great Kererū Count is nearly here! From the 16th- 25th of September, you can take part in New Zealand’s largest citizen science project by getting outside and counting kererū.

Photo by Steve Attwood

Photo by Steve Attwood

This will help scientists get a better understanding of kererū numbers and where they live. The more people who take part, the better information they get about how these awesome birds are doing. So get a group of friends together and count those kereru!

In the meantime, read more about kererū then do our quiz to find out how much you know about kereru!

Photo by Craig McKenziePhoto by Craig McKenzie

What’s in a name?

Kererū have lots of different names! Their Māori name is kererū, but some iwi in Northland call them kukupa and kuku.

Their scientific name is Hemiphaga novaeseelandiae. If you look up the latin meaning of “hemiphaga” it actually means half (“hemi”) eater (“phaga”). Do you have any ideas what that might mean?

What do kererū look like?

Kererū are big birds, in fact they are one of the largest pigeons in the world. They weigh about 650g and are about 50 cm long. The feathers on their back and head are green, but can look purple in the sunlight. They have white feathers on their chests.

Why are kererū important?

This x-ray of a kererū by the Avian Wildlife Rehabilitation Trust shows how many big berries it can fit in its crop!

This x-ray of a kererū by the Avian Wildlife Rehabilitation Trust shows how many big berries it can fit in its crop!


Kererū spread the seeds of over 70 native forest plants, including kahikatea, rimu and nikau.

Now that birds like the huia and piopio are extinct, the kererū is the only native bird large enough to eat the big fruit of some of our important native forest trees like tawa, karaka, taraire, miro and puriri.

They also fly long distances – so are great at distributing seeds throughout the forest. After eating the fruits, the birds fly away and poo the seed somewhere else in the forest, along with some nutritious fertiliser!

If there were no kererū, there would be no bird to spread these seeds in the forest which would be a disaster for our native trees!

Where do kererū live?

A kererū chick on the nest Photo by Abel Tasman Backpackers)

A kererū chick on the nest (Photo by Abel Tasman Backpackers)


Kererū are only found in New Zealand, which means they are endemic. You can spot them in forests, parks, reserves and gardens all over New Zealand, but they are most common in the forests of Northland, the King Country, Nelson and the West Coast.

Before humans and predators came to New Zealand there would have been flocks of hundreds of kererū in forests all over the country.

Adults make a nest – an untidy platform of sticks in a fork of a tree or in a tangle amongst some vines. They lay just one egg in the nest, which the male and female take turns to keep warm for a month before it hatches.

What do kererū sound like?

Kererū don’t sing like a lot of our native birds, instead they make a soft “coo” sound. You are more likely to notice a kererū when it’s flying because of the loud “whooshing“ noise their wings make.

They are clumsy at landing so if you hear a bird crash-landing in a tree, it’s probably a kererū! Listen to them cooing and crashing about the forest here.

What are the threats to kererū?

The biggest threat to kererū are introduced predators. Many kererū eggs and chicks never grow into adults because they are eaten by rats, stoats, possums and cats. In some places over half the eggs and chicks get eaten. Stoats and cats also eat adult kererū. All this means that there aren’t as many kererū in our forests, parks and gardens as there used to be.


A possum scavenges an abandoned kererū nest Photo by Nga Manu Images)

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A possum scavenges an abandoned kererū nest (Photo by Nga Manu Images)


Habitat loss
Kererū live mainly in forest. Before humans arrived in New Zealand 85 percent of New Zealand was covered in forests. Humans burned and chopped down large areas of forests to make farms, towns and cities and to use the wood for building and exporting. Now only 23 percent of New Zealand is covered in forest. That means there is less food for kererū, and less places for them to nest and live.

Possums and rat don’t only eat chicks and eggs they also eat the fruit and leaves kererū like to eat. Without enough food kererū don’t breed, and adult birds may starve.

Illegal hunting
Kererū were traditionally hunted by Māori for its meat and feathers. They were easy to spear or trap, especially after they had a big feed. Kererū were also popular birds with European hunters in the 1800’s. Eventually hunting kererū was banned in 1921 to help save them. Unfortunately people still sometimes hunt kererū illegally, which could cause them to disappear from some parts of New Zealand.

Other threats
Reflections of trees in windows can confuse kererū into thinking it’s just more forest, so they try to fly through it which can injure them. They are also often injured or killed by cars as they swoop low over roads.

How can I help kererū?

IMG_2046Make a Kererū Protector for your windows to let them know it’s not forest!

Join a local conservation group to help trap pests or plant kererū habitat. Try your local Kiwi Conservation Club branch or Forest & Bird branch.

Encourage the adults you live with to set up a trap to catch possums, rats and stoats in your garden.

Plant kererū food trees in your garden like tawa, kowhai, puriri and hinau. Make sure they aren’t too close to windows or the kererū might crash into them after they eat.

If you find a sick or injured kererū, get it to your nearestrescue centre as soon as possible or call the Department of Conservation on 0800 DOCHOT. To catch a kererū throw a towel over it, scoop it up (gently holding its wings to its sides so they don’t get damaged) and put both bird and towel in a box. The darkness of the box and the warmth of the towel helps the bird if it’s stressed.

Taiwanese Cherry Tree – good bye!

Declaring war on The Taiwanese Cherry Tree. Saturday Morning,29th August, 8.30, meet at The Top of the Opua Hill, Depending on how many turn up with chainsaws will depend on how many areas we can attack Janet Bambus has already been working on the area of Scoresby Street in Opua, so this will be the first part, we will progress from there. Please bring hi-vis gear if you have it, loppers, chainsaws, empty spray bottles? I have containers of water to mix with the Glyphosate. Others may have something else they would prefer to put on the stumps, some trees may need to be drilled. Weather looks ok so hoping for a good turnout.

Newsletter 4/2015

 Newsletter 4 /2015

Community Potluck Dinner 
by Greg Philpott
An opportunity for you to come together and enjoy the convivial company of your neighbours and fellow Opuians.

What:           A pot-luck, bring your own, community dinner
When:          Saturday 25th July starting at 5pm
Where:        Opua Community Hall

  • Open to all members of the Opua Community
  • All invited to bring a dish to share – (meat, spud or vege) ideal example good hearty casserole – bring in a crock pot, slow cooker, electric fry pan or the like to plug in
  • Opua General Store will provide a monster basket of bread rolls
  • Bring your own drinks and glasses
  • Bring your own plates and knives and forks

Volunteer Fire Brigade
By Lesley Lucas

Paihia Volunteer Fire Brigade are having a Fun Community Day on Sat 25th July between 10.30am and 2.30pm on the Paihia Village Green. We’d love kids of all ages to come and join us.

BOIVR Fun Trivia Night
by Frank Leadley

A fun evening is planned! Quizzes, great auction items and raffles plus lots of prizes to be given out! There will 8 people per team/per table. The evening will have sets of quiz questions, in between quizzes there will be auctions.

A fast moving lively night with crazy auctioneering by Frank Leadley and Mayor John Carter!

The funds from this evening are going towards a very exciting new Railway Station and Cycleway complex at Opua. Planning is well advanced. Come along to find out what has happened so far, what is to come, and be a part of this great Northland initiative!

Taiwan Cherry – pretty! N O T!!!!!!
by Manuela Gmuer-Hornell

Look at those pretty pink blossoms…. now is the perfect time to identify and get rid of it… read on here (from the NRC website)

What does it look like?

The Taiwanese cherry is a deciduous tree that grows up to 8m high. Its leaves are serrated, thin, and cherry-like. The flowers are deep pink, bell-shaped in clusters and it has shiny scarlet fruit 1cm across from October to December.

Why is it a problem?

Birds spread the seed and it invades all types of shrublands, light gaps in the forest, and roadsides.

How do I get rid of it?

  • Cut the tree down or make downward cuts around the base of the tree and apply 250ml glyphosate (360g/l e.g. Roundup ®) per litre to the point of runoff, or with Vigilant® gel, within 10 minutes; or
  • Drill 12-14mm holes at 200mm intervals around the trunk and fill with10-15mls of undiluted glyphosate; or
  • Spray (during summer) with 5g metsulfuron-methyl (600g/kg e.g. Escort®) per 10 litres water or 60ml Brushkiller per 10 litres water.

Control methods for pest trees and shrubs

There is a range of methods available to control pest plants. The following recommendations – which are only a sample of those available – are based on safe-use methods that have proven effective.

  • Physical removal of the plant and all fragments to a land fill is the best organic method.
  • Slashing, mowing or otherwise removing plant material and then treating the stumps or regrowth reduces the amount of chemicals needed.
  • Always apply chemical to cut stump within 10 minutes of cutting.
  • Spray is recommended for large areas. For aerial rates contact the regional council’s biosecurity team.
  • Penetrant aids the uptake of herbicides – there is a range available, e.g. Pulse®, Boost®, Freeway, Dewdrop, and Kiwi Buddy Uptake crop oil.
  • Follow-up is always recommended until all the seed has gone from the soil.

Caution: when using any herbicide or pesticide PLEASE READ THE LABEL THOROUGHLY and follow all instructions and safety requirements.

More information

For further information or control advice please contact one of our biosecurity team at the Northland Regional Council on 0800 002 004.

More information on these and other pest plants is also available at:


Ongoing clearing at the water tank
by Brian Hepburn
We are meeting every Thursday and Saturday by the water tank, the Puketiitii Domain. We have cleared away a heap so far but it is slow work. Please join us from 8.30am! Bring your own weeding tools and plenty of energy.

Keep yourself in the loop
by Manuela Gmuer-Hornell

Not everyone is on Facebook – BUT, you can follow LoveOpua on our websitewww.opuanz.wordpress.com – have a look!