Predator-Free Programme

Tui bird
We are looking for volunteers who are passionate about our environment.  

Help restore native birdsong back to the streets of New Plymouth.

Can you help check traps in a local park or walkway? Or lead the efforts in your neighbourhood? We'd love to hear from you.

  • Stay active.
  • Get in the bush.
  • Give back to the community.
  • Be part of the community restoring native plants and wildlife to urban areas.

About the programme

NPDC runs the urban programme for the city’s urban parks and green spaces (about 100 different areas). This programme is a segment of the "Towards Predator-Free Taranaki" programme run by TRC. This project was launched in May 2018 and has the aim of making Taranaki the first predator-free region in New Zealand. NPDC has over 1,300 traps in public parks and reserves with our volunteers recording over 200 rats caught in 2020. NPDC’s predator-free community currently has about 60 volunteers who check and reset traps around urban parks and green spaces, however, they need more people power to help protect our native plants and wildlife. 

There is no set time commitment needed or special skills required – just a passion for the project and our environment.

A word from our volunteers:

“It’s great to be working with the community, caring for our environment.”

“People are very keen to help protect our native plants and wildlife, especially areas near their own homes.”

“The more volunteers we have, the faster we’ll see more native wildlife and healthier plants as we work towards a Predator-Free Taranaki.”

Volunteer for NPDC's urban predator-free programme

If you’re interested in volunteering, or would like to find out more give our friendly Parks volunteer officer Laura a call on 06-759 6060, email, or fill out the form below.

To find out more about the wider Towards Predator Free Taranaki project, check out the Taranaki Regional Council's website here.

Trap in your backyard 

You can pick up subsidised $10 rat trap that is safe around pets and children from our Civic Centre or from any of the locations listed on the Towards Predator Free Taranaki Website. 

Volunteer Profiles

Tom Parsons

I include predator trapping as an important part of my Te Ara Oranga Youth Programme. 

In our programme we work alongside youth who may not be in formal education. We offer them tools to help develop their skills for everyday life with a view to furthering their education and training.

Regularly heading out along the trap line has many physical, emotional, environmental, occupational and social benefits to help each of them to build meaningful connections into their community. We learn about the various pests that live in the flora and fauna and learn how destructive they are. We learn how important our efforts are by contributing to the region-wide Predator Free Taranaki project.

They learn that they are positively contributing to our community by saving birds lives and they feel proud of themselves.

Regularly checking the traps has directly improved the fitness and wellbeing of these youth and many have re-entered formal education and training. 

How long have you been volunteering for the predator-free programme?
We introduced the trap line into our programme in June 2020.

How often do you check the traps?
When possible we like to head out once a week.

What are the best things about volunteering for the predator-free programme?
Our fitness has improved! We are always watching to see what birds are present each time we head along the trap line. Our trap line is along the Coastal Walkway so we get to meet a lot of people walking or cycling.

What are the most rewarding things about volunteering?
We get a lot of satisfaction from saving bird lives.

Have you noticed any results from your efforts yet?
Yes, locals comment to us that they have noticed an increase in the bird numbers this year.

What do you imagine for the future of urban parks and green spaces in the district?
Native birds enjoying native trees.

What would you say to those that may be keen to get involved?
Go ahead and dedicate a couple of hours to giving our birds a better chance of survival.

Nancy Maessen

I started checking traps as a volunteer in October 2019, but had already set up traps at home several months before that. I started with traps in the reserve across the road from me, but in early 2020, contacted Laura to see if I could do more traps alongside the Waiwhakaiho river near where I work.

I check the traps at least every week, and it’s always exciting to discover another dead rat, weird as that sounds.

I like making a contribution to the goal of a predator-free New Zealand and feeling part of that community effort. I love our native birds and have enjoyed seeing a gradual increase in bird numbers, especially on our Taranaki Mounga, but even in my own backyard.

I hope that our trapping efforts will result in the successful return of more native bird species to urban parks and reserves so that they become a normal part of our everyday landscape.

I encourage anyone to start trapping at home, and to volunteer. It doesn’t take long, and it’s an opportunity to spend some time outdoors, which I enjoy after my working week in the office.


Helen Collins

I have been volunteering for one year and four months.

I check the traps at least monthly. When I first started I checked some traps every few days because they were so productive.  

The best things about volunteering for the predator-free programme is that I know I'm helping to eradicate pests which destroy native wildlife. And I am keeping fit while I am walking around my trap area.

The most rewarding thing about (any) volunteering is knowing you are part of a large number of people who are helping to make things better or more possible for people and the environment.

For the future of urban parks I would imagine even more and varied birds, lizards and other native fauna. And no pests, including feral cats.

To people who would like to be involved I would say that if you don't mind bad smells and dead animals in varying states of decay, its a great way to keep fit and enjoy the outdoors and our beautiful environment.

And Laura, our volunteer coordinator is encouraging and helpful.