Pest Free Hibiscus and Bays is a new initiative, supported by the Local Board and part of a broader project across Auckland. The goal is to bring together and assist individuals and groups who are working to reduce pest animals and plants.

Richard Chambers is the local co-ordinator, and he says that his main job is to raise awareness of the good work which is being carried out – for example, by Kathy McCormack and her team at the Bush Glen Reserve restoration project – and how residents and businesses can get involved.

“Out of tens of thousands of introduced plants, there are only a very few that cause major problems,” he explains. “This year we’re particularly targeting the ‘Dirty Trio’: woolly nightshade, moth plant and wild ginger.” In the first instance, he encourages residents to control their gardens. “Plants like jasmine look pretty, but they’re invasive. Please don’t let them run amok.”

Furthermore, Kathy McCormack advises people to be on the look out for a potential new threat: myrtle rust. This disease affects plants in the myrtle family, including mānuka and pōhutukawa. “If you think you’ve seen it, don’t touch it; the spores are powdery on the leaves and will be spread in the breeze,” she warns. “Take a photo and immediately contact Auckland Council or MPI.”

For more information about how to identify and control pest plants visit and search for Weed Control Guide.

Kathy is also a driving force behind the rat and possum traps which have been offered to homes and businesses throughout Browns Bay. So far, she has distributed 3,500 chewcards and flyers, and more than 100 traps. Pupils at Northcross Intermediate have been actively involved, putting the traps together.

Richard explains that it’s possible to get rid of rats from where we live and not just the bush reserves. If enough of the community sign up, then pulsing will be possible. “This is when you only need to set and monitor the traps for one month in every three instead of all year round. With this concentrated effort, the rat population is cleared out from an area and takes time to recover. In order for this to happen, we need as many people as possible participating.”

“The trapping project will be rolled out to the wider Bays over the next few years but, for now, the focus remains on Browns Bay,” says Kathy. “So, if you’re in the area – especially the commercial district – please contact me if you’d like a trap for your garden or business premises. With the funding received, we’re able to sell the traps at a greatly reduced rate of just $10 each, and it’s such a simple way of helping to preserve our environment.”

To enquire about a trap on your property, contact Kathy McCormack on 021 612 105 or e-mail p.k.mccormack@

(First published and permission to post by ShoreLines Magazine)