Winners of Enhancing the Halo Predator – Free Community Competition 2014.

Two Wellington suburbs go head to head to become New Zealand’s first ever predator-free community.

unnamed (2)The Morgan Foundation’s Enhancing the Halo project has over 1200 Households who have signed up to making their backyards into safe havens for native creatures, with many of them trapping predators on their properties. Recently the project has ramped up the focus on trapping, holding a competition between four groups to be first ever predator-free community in this country.

In a surprise twist worthy of reality TV, two winners have been announced. Wellington’s Glenside and Crofton Downs suburbs have both won $5,000 from the Morgan Foundation to put towards traps or bait stations deployed in their local area. Department of Conservation (DOC) and Wellington City Council have also pledged their assistance with planning and trap training.

“The quality of entrants was just so high, we just had to have two winners” says the philanthropist behind the Morgan Foundation Gareth Morgan. “Now we get to see a them compete to be the first predator free suburb. We figured a bit of good old fashioned neigbourhood rivalry wouldn’t hurt. It’s going to be exciting to watch.”

Crofton Downs is an inner suburb of Wellington between Ngaio and Wadestown. The community will be co-ordinated by Kelvin Hastie. Kelvin started from scratch and has already built up a team of local volunteers. His attention to detail and consistent drive has produced some great buy-in already from neighbouring households in this leafy suburb.

Kelvin says, “Having two winners has put a whole new slant into this challenge as Crofton Downs will have to work really hard to compete with the passionate community of Glenside. Best news is there will be one big winner our local fauna and flora and this only gets us one step closer to becoming New Zealand’s natural capital.”

Glenside is a semirural suburb between Churton Park and Tawa. The Glenside residents are co-ordinated by Allan Brown.

Allan says, “I would like to say the Halo project has really galvanized the Glenside community to come together on a project we can all participate in. It is amazing to realize and see we are and will be making such a positive difference to our environment and our social structure.”

“To be the first pest free community in NZ will be a big challenge and also an honour to participate in. I can tell you Glenside is ready, armed and waiting to go.”

Enhancing the Halo will follow both winning communities. The website will contain updates of their progress including the number and types of predators being trapped.

On announcing the winner Gareth Morgan commented “Becoming New Zealand’s first predator free community won’t be easy – it will take a real commitment. We reckon the households of Crofton Downs and Glenside are up for it. All the partners involved with this project are excited and keen to get killing some predators. It will take us one step closer to making Wellington the Natural Capital.”

“This will become the template for other communities to adopt and aspire to.”