Predator Free 2050 calls for new product ideas after self-resetting trap proves successful

Kiwi ingenuity is playing a huge part in New Zealand's goal of eradicating pests and one company has proven success.

A Whakatane-based company making a self-resetting trap has proven such a success, Predator Free 2050 Limited is asking for more innovators to come forward with ideas.

NZ AutoTraps' possum and rat trap is actually revolutionary and of course, it's the result of some good old-fashioned 'kiwi tinkering' - to solve a problem.  

"Seeing traps that are empty, no bait or anything in them, or an animal that hadn't been cleared," NZ AutoTraps operations manager Haydn Steel said.

"I thought, well I can do better than that!" said its development manager Kevin Bain.

And so the self-resetting trap was born.

Once a rat or possum is caught, it drops the predator out and winds itself back, filling with a liquid bait and ready to be used all over again.

The trap has enough battery power to last six months. 

"The best report I think we've had is nine possums in one night," Steel said.

The trap was one of fifteen predator eradication tools given funding by Predator Free 2050 last year.

That support meant NZ AutoTraps could relocate to a bigger premises in Whakatane employing six local staff. 

And they've scaled up big time from making just 60 traps a month by hand. 

"With the grant, it's allowed us to move to a bigger space, buy some automated equipment, and at the moment we're producing over 400 a month," Steel said. 

With another four million dollars of funding available, Predator Free 2050 CEO Abbie Reynolds says she's eager to hear from more product developers.

"Things like long-life lures, lures which can be detected from a distance by predators, new tools, new traps, the sorts of things which are going to help us really eradicate predators on the ground," she said.

Because if we don't aim to eradicate, New Zealand's native bird populations will pay the price.

"It is New Zealand's moonshot," Reynolds said.

And these big-thinkers in a small Whakatane workspace, is just the first giant leap.