Wellington undertakes New Zealand's biggest urban pest eradication

The country's biggest ever urban pest eradication is underway in Wellington, and Miramar Peninsula plans to be entirely free of rats, possums, weasels and stoats by Christmas time. 

"We're hoping we can give that back to Wellingtonians as a Christmas present, right?" Project Director of Predator Free Wellington, James Willcocks, told Newshub. 

Six-thousand traps and bait stations are being installed in backyards.

The Hammond family has been successfully killing pests with their own traps for months, but are now getting some heavy artillery.

"We've had kingfishers, tuis, we say one wood pigeon and a bellbird as well... it's all coming in and we're getting that morning and afternoon bird song, which is great," says Wade Hammond.

The Peninsula is already possum-free due to council work which kicked off in 2003.

Dan Henry is the Community Lead for this urban eradication and thinks this next phase is crucial.

"I think it'll make a massive difference, yeah. It can't not. It's something the community wants to happen. This is not something that's been done to them by other people - this is something the community has said, "yes please, bring it on," says Henry.

Henry isn't wrong about the support - in fact, the support is reflected across the capital.

A council survey this year shows 92 percent of Wellingtonians want to live in a predator-free city, with 70 percent saying they are actively controlling pests in their own backyards.

Predator Free Wellington says that's why it's setting such a demanding deadline.

"This has come from Wellingtonians themselves," says Willcocks.

"Stepping up to define the kind of city they want to the kind of city they want to live in." 

For Wade Hammond in particular, catching pests has become a bit of a dark obsession.

"I got to the point where I'm sitting at work, and there's a whole genre on YouTube of how to kill rats - and I'm like, 'that's different'," says Hammond.

But it's all worth it when the native birds are chirping.