Rakitu Island Aerial Poison Drop

Many readers will have seen the item about this on TV1 News. (See the link at the bottom, if you missed it.) Good to have this very important issue aired on the national network. However, not all of what happened at the meeting was revealed on television.

Apparently the Department of Conservation (DoC) has no idea about rat numbers!

Meeting to discuss the issue

By Carol Sawyer

Protestors talking to DoC’s Paul McArthur (Credit TVNZ)

Rakitu Island, less than 3km from Great Barrier Island, is about to be aerially poisoned with brodifacoum.

Today I spoke to a friend of mine on Great Barrier Island. He says local Iwi are supportive of the poison drop and DoC is not listening to the other locals.

Those other locals invited TV1 News to be present at the presentation at the DoC office of the more than 700 signatures they had collected against the drop. That is what you see happening in the video.

When the presentation was finished, and the first interviews had been held with DoC’s Paul McArthur and Great Barrier Island resident Elise Bishop, McArthur invited everyone inside for a coffee. My friend said McArthur was seen to go round the back with the TV1 News reporter, so was followed.

How many rats?

Rakitu in the distance from Great Barrier

I am told the reporter was heard to ask “How many rats are out there ?” He replied “I don’t know”.

She asked “Is it in the hundreds ?” He replied “I don’t know”.

She asked “Is it in the thousands ?” He replied “I don’t know”.

She said that she was going out there soon with the protestors.

He replied that he would email her how many rats were on the island.

How many? Don’t know.

Half an hour later, the reporter, now on Rakitu, states on this video that the rats ” number in the thousands”. Did she get the email ? Did she make it up?

Tony Storey says. Here is the response from Paul McArthur when I emailed him asking about rat densities on Rakitu.

Rat Densities: No current information on densities.

Tony also says :

“A University of Auckland trip is going out there this week (16-27 Jan) weather permitting, to do a number of things including a rat population evaluation and pre eradication ecosystem baseline monitoring.”

Former owner not happy

Charmaine Foster on Rakitu

Charmaine Foster formerly owned the island. She is filmed on the island in this news clip, and is not happy about the drop.

I wonder if she now regrets having sold it to the Crown ! Her son was trapping there voluntarily. My friend says he was doing a marvellous job.

However. DoC told him to stop trapping because it would compromise their poison programme!!!