Pest-Free Riverlea!


What is it?
RESI has launched “Pest-Free Riverlea” to undertake community-led pest control in Riverlea. We aim to extend Hamilton City Council’s pest control work in Hammond Park to private properties throughout Riverlea, including businesses in the Riverlea industrial area.

The ecology and community spirit of Riverlea will be enhanced by this project.

RESI received $5000 seed funding from Kiwibank via “Predator Free NZ” to provide subsidised pest control to private landowners. We are also seeking funding from other agencies to further develop the project.

Riverlea is the proud host of Hamilton’s most diverse forest remnant, Hammond Park bush. It contains the threatened long-tailed bat, tui, fantail, kereru, eels, glow worms and the rare swamp maire tree. Some of this biodiversity spills over into the rest of Riverlea.

All this could be even better without rats and possums. An estimated 26 million native birds’ eggs and chicks are stealthily eaten in NZ each year by mammalian pests. Protecting our native species outside Hammond Park, where pest control is ongoing, will help their populations grow.

Working with Predator Free New Zealand and Kiwibank, we are part of the most ambitious conservation project ever undertaken. Its success depends on most of us playing our part.

Getting involved will also strengthen our Riverlea community, making it an even better place to live. Watch our video

How will it work?
The three main pest animals that eat native birds are rats, possums and mustelids (stoats, ferrets and weasels). Scientists tell us that there are few mustelids in urban environments, so we will target rats and possums.

Rats have a home patch of about 50 m2. So that all of them encounter a trap, ideally we’ll have a rat trap every 50 to 100 metres across all of Riverlea. That would mean around 230 evenly spaced traps will be needed. However, whoever wants one can have one. If there are significant areas where nobody has a trap, we will approach residents personally.

We only use traps that have passed animal welfare testing, to ensure that the trapping is as humane as possible.

The cheapest approved rat trap, which we recommend for widespread use, is the Victor Professional trap. It needs to be set under a tunnel to exclude pets, birds and children, and to guide the rat in at the correct angle. After a community building day to build the tunnels, we will provide a trap and tunnel set to residents for $5. The tunnels should be baited with peanut butter or a chocolate spread such as nutella.

Watch how to set a Victor trap here.

A more expensive option is the Good Nature A24 rat trap. These are easier to set, kill rats instantly and immediately reset themselves after a kill. We will offer these at the heavily subsidised price of $30, but because we need to spread our funds carefully, we can only offer this price to residents to properties bordering gully sections (in these locations where extra protection is needed). To others we can supply the Good Nature traps at the reduced price of $130, with an ongoing cost of $30 a year for supplies.

Possums are most likely to occur in properties next to gullies. We encourage gully owners to purchase humane possum traps for their properties. We offer the Trapinator for the subsidised price of $13.50. Good Nature A12 possum traps are available at the reduced price of $130, with an ongoing cost of $30 a year for supplies.

Reporting your trapping success
When you’ve caught a rat or possum, you can record your success online at CatchIT. Or, if you’d prefer, email the date of your catch with details of what you caught to

We need to know if our trapping is effective. Therefore, we’ll be placing monitoring tunnels in lines at selected sites around Riverlea. Three times a year, starting before trapping begins, we’ll place inky cards in these tunnels along with some peanut butter. The footprints of whatever enters the tunnel will be recorded.

The residents in properties where we will monitor have been personally contacted.


  • May 2017 –  set up monitoring tunnels.
  • July 2017 – Community working bee to build tunnels to cover Victor rat traps.
  • July 2017 – Get your traps! A community training day covering installing and maintaining traps and health and safety needs.
  • August 2017 – Trapping begins.
  • April 2018 – Results/ Celebration/ and next steps!

Preparing your property to trap
Hungry rats are the ones most likely to be attracted by a trap’s food lure. Stop feeding them: clear away food they might be eating around your property, such as fallen fruit, chicken food or open compost bins.

Securing wire mesh over the air spaces in compost bins is a good way to exclude rodents. Hopper-style chicken feeders exclude rodents and small birds from chicken food; in addition, loose scraps should be thrown to chickens in the morning or in small quantities that they can finish during the day, so there is none left at night for rats.

How Can I Get Involved?

  1. Contact us — become part of the team of Riverlea residents who are helping bring back more birds and biodiversity.
  2. Buy a trap through us — our traps come at greatly discounted rates, thanks to support from Predator Free New Zealand/Kiwibank.
  3. Report what you catch — we’ll tell you how when you are up and running with a trap.

There are other ways to become involved, too:

  • Build trap tunnels during a community building day or at your place.
  • Donate to help pay for traps in Riverlea even if you don’t want one on your property.
  • Provide access by letting someone else monitor a trap on your property.
  • Help us monitor pest numbers and also the native birds and bats.
  • Become a Riverlea Ranger. For children who love nature. Learn how to identify inky footprints that are recorded as we monitor which pests are around.

Contact Us
Register your interest by emailing If you don’t have email, telephone our Community Conservation Coordinator, Adrienne, on 027 308 1992 or 853 6288. We don’t need commitment yet, just an expression of interest so we can contact you soon to let you know about upcoming activities.

Pest-Free Riverlea traps are animal-welfare approved, and poison-free. They are much cheaper than a pest-control contractor, and will keep your electrical wiring free of rat damage. They are subsidised through Predator Free New Zealand/ Kiwibank funding and are significantly cheaper than retail prices.

  • Victor Professional rat trap and tunnel $5

For priority bush-margin or gully sections:

  • Good Nature self-resetting rat trap – $30 (a discount of nearly $170). Find out more about these at the Goodnature website
  • Possum trap – $13.50