Te Arawa Catfish Killas
Catfish Population Control
Our catfish eradication programme was established in 2016 to increase awareness about the threat that catfish pose on the environment, to stop the spread of catfish, and eventually eliminate them in Te Arawa lakes.
The kaupapa is an initiative between the Bay of Plenty Regional Council and Te Arawa Lakes Trust and is coordinated by Te Arawa with a group, dubbed the ‘Catfish Killas’. The group consists of iwi members and other volunteers who are dedicated to restoring and protecting the 14 lakes.
Our coordinator, William Anaru teaches volunteers how to lay nets, catch pest fish and educates kohanga reo, kura kaupapa, primary, intermediate and secondary schools as well as hapū and the public on how to stop the spread and growth of catfish in our lakes and waterways.
Since its establishment, the programme has been hugely successful in creating awareness and mobilising an army of 1,500 volunteers who have culled 180,000 catfish from our lakes. The Te Arawa Catfish Killas group has also been successful in various taiao awards including;
- New Zealand Biosecurity DOC Community Pihinga Award
- New Zealand Biosecurity Supreme Award
- Society of Local Government Managers (SOLGM) Te Puni Kōkiri Award for Bicultural Leadership
- McGredy Winder 2019 SOLGM Local Government Excellence Awards® Supreme Award
We know that catfish are devastating our kōura populations and we also know that catfish eradication is not feasible with the current tools available. For this reason, we are working with the Bay of Plenty Regional Council and NIWA on a research project to assess whether biocontrol, using sterile male catfish, would be an effective tool for Lake Rotoiti and Lake Rotorua. You can read more about the biocontrol programme here.
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Hunga Tiaki Taiao
In 2020, Te Arawa Lakes Trust received $2.5 million in funding to support the creation of new jobs post COVID-19 – while also enabling and accelerating environmental projects that deliver wider economic, social and cultural benefits. The funding is part of the Government’s $1.3 billion Jobs for Nature programme.
Through the funding, Te Arawa Lakes Trust has established the Hunga Tiaki Taiao (Wetland Team) who lead various kaupapa educating and upskilling participants in the environment sector.
We have also created an innovative and ambitious proposal – Mauri Tu Mauri Ora Te Arawa – that was developed during the Level 4 lockdown to generate new job opportunities by advancing environmental projects.
Starting with a wetlands restoration pilot project in collaboration with hapū, iwi and landowners, we have created eight jobs in the first phase.
The premise behind Mauri tū, Mauri ora Te Arawa is founded on the core principles of collaboration and partnership in order to achieve far reaching outcomes.
Alongside the wetlands restoration kaupapa is the Taiao Training programme that aims to educate and upskill participants to meet the growing workforce demands in the environment sector, ultimately creating more kaitiaki for the rohe.
These kaupapa will not only upskill and engage our whānau as Hunga Tiaki and forge stronger connections with our environment, they will also replenish the mauri of our wai, our whenua and our whakapapa.
Senitel A Nuku tauira
Launched in July 2020, the Sentinel A Nuku programme was developed by the Department of Conservation – Te Papa Atawhai and has its genesis in the successful Ngā Whenua Rāhui programme.
This programme supports Māori landowners to restore, protect and preserve the indigenous biodiversity of their whenua, as well as preserve traditional knowledge and heritage. It aims to prepare the next generation of environmental and conservation managers and technical experts.
You can read more about the programme here.