OSPRI works with Iwi to help Mohaka forest become TBFree
An agreement that will see bovine TB eradicated from a large forested area on the Mohaka River in northern Hawke’s Bay was signed today between Ngāti Pāhauwera and primary industries services organisation OSPRI.
The Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) opens the way for work to begin on dramatically reducing possum numbers in around 12,000 hectares of the Mohaka Forest and reserve off the Napier/Wairoa State Highway in inland Hawke’s Bay.
The compact and unique nature of the terrain in the operational area has meant that Ngāti Pāhauwera can opt for a ground-based control programme, with contributions from OSPRI and other parties, to reduce possum numbers to a level at which TB cannot persist. The ground-based multi-year programme will provide employment opportunities for local possum-control workers.
Most of the area is easily accessible moderate steep hill country and bounded by the Mohaka and Waikari rivers, and is covered by commercial forest and native bush. These particular features, along with the small size of the operational area and the fact that Ngāti Pāhauwera has their own pest control programme make the ground option viable.
The MOU outlines annual possum control targets that Ngāti Pāhauwera will aim for through their pest control programme and the contributions of the various parties to this programme upon successful completion of control. It is expected that it will take up to eight years of control to reduce the possum population then maintain low numbers until TB freedom is achieved. The TBfree programme aims to deliver freedom from disease in possums by 2040.
OSPRI CEO Michelle Edge said the Memorandum of Understanding with the Ngāti Pāhauwera Development Trust provides the essential framework to work collaboratively to return the area to disease-free status by partnering with iwi and local communities, farmers, industry and government.
“We look forward to working with Ngāti Pāhauwera and making progress towards the goal of TB eradication going forward,” said Ms Edge. “OSPRI is committed to consulting closely with landowners and communities, and collaborating to achieve these nationally important goals.”
OSPRI helps protect and enhance the reputation of New Zealand’s primary industries. It currently runs the NAIT and TBfree programmes. OSPRI is funded by DairyNZ, Beef + Lamb New Zealand, Deer Industry New Zealand and the New Zealand Government. It provides knowledge and leadership in veterinary health, disease prevention, animal management, intellectual property, information technology and community liaison.
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