At present the Maketu spit is one of the least modified dune systems in the Western Bay of Plenty. However pest plants such as pampas and marram grass, gorse, radiata pine, boxthorn and tree lupin would, if left unchecked, change the nature and biology of the spit by smothering open sand areas desired by nesting birds, and providing coverage for mammalian predators. Habitat restoration is vital to ensure the continued survival of the spit for native biodiversity, and as an invaluable natural protection from storms and other natural events.
MOWS members help to control pest plants through hand weeding, herbicide use, using chainsaws and diggers to remove invasive trees and gorse, and re-planting native species.
Introduced mammals pose a major risk to the breeding success of the New Zealand dotterel and other native bird species, as well as having a negative impact on reptiles and invertebrates. Black-backed gulls are a serious threat to dotterel eggs and chicks, being able to devastate a nest in a matter of seconds.
We control pest animals in our BMP’s using kill traps (DOC 200/250’s and Good Nature automatic traps), live cat traps, poison for possums, rats and rabbits, and tracking tunnels to see what species are present. We also have two pest proof fences on Maketu Spit to further protect the bird nesting area.
Humans are responsible for the introduction of most of the pest species present in New Zealand today, as well as being a direct threat to native wildlife themselves. Careless discarding of litter, chemicals and waste have a serious impact on the environment and our native flora and fauna. Fishing debris is a particular problem around Maketu, with birds regularly being found entangled in it, or having died from swallowing it. On one occasion, two Variable oystercatchers were found tied to each other by fishing line. They were rescued by MOWS members and disentangled, allowing them a much better fate than if they had not been seen and caught.