How Banks Peninsula plans to be predator-free by 2050

A community-led programme to rid Banks Peninsula of pests by 2050 has been revealed.

Conservation Minister Eugenie Sage announced on Sunday that various local groups, including the Banks Peninsula Conservation Trust, Environment Canterbury and Ngāi Tahu rūnanga, have signed a memorandum of understanding to work together to remove pests from the 115,000 hectares of land by 2050.

"This is a significant step towards the vision of a pest-free Banks Peninsula and builds on decades of community driven ecological restoration work," Ms Sage said.

Possum and goat reduction has been happening in recent years, leading to a near doubling of sooty shearwater birds and white-flippered penguin populations. The penguin colony has gone from 700 to 1200 in the last 18 years, enabling ecotourism in the area with evening penguin tours.

Ms Sage said the initiative would further restore native biodiversity to the area and will contribute to a predator free New Zealand.

"This community-led programme will transform the environment for our native plants and wildlife to flourish on the doorstep of our second largest city".

In September the Minister announced a project to make Waiheke Island predator-free by 2025. The goal of making New Zealand predator-free by 2050 has however, been labelled "badly designed and unachievable" by some academics.