Picton Pestival a growing event

Jack Schumacker tries to get the possum into the bucket at the Picton Pestival.
Jack Schumacker tries to get the possum into the bucket at the Picton Pestival.

Dead stoats, possums, rabbits and even a wallaby took pride of place at Waitohi Domain in Picton on Saturday for the second annual Picton Pestival.

Kaipupu Point Sounds Wildlife Sanctuary secretary and event organiser Jo O'Connell said the day was not only a birthday celebration for the sanctuary, but was also to highlight the need of pest eradication.

"It's not taking joy in killing things, it's just practical and how we protect our native species that can't protect themselves," she said.

Kaipupu Point Wildlife Sanctuary volunteer Jenny Keene.
Kaipupu Point Wildlife Sanctuary volunteer Jenny Keene.

Funds raised at the Pestival would be used to help eradicate pests from the sanctuary.

"Mainland sanctuaries, like this, if we don't have them, and the birds radiating from them, the forests will be silent, and it's just not right."

New Zealand had more endemic species on the verge of extinction than any other country Ms O'Connell said.

Kate Withers, Emily Flynn and Emma Withers with their pests
Kate Withers, Emily Flynn and Emma Withers with their pests

The Pestival offered prizes for dead pests, and as well as a slew of possum and rabbit entries, there were dead hedgehogs, rats and a goat.

Kaipupu Point volunteer Jenny Keene said it was great to see so many children at the event. They had set up a range of activities for them, including possum throws, " catch a rat", story time, crafts, face painting, and a bouncy castle.

"It's about catching them [children] early and igniting the spark."

Adults were entertained by a kapa haka group, and singers, including Picton's Midge McCleary, Kiwi-reggae group One Step, Blenheim jazz pianist/singer Lee Stuart and alternative country band, The Shot Band, of Wellington.

At the Conservation Zone there were workshops on monitoring tools, trapping, New Zealand bats and a Touch a Tuatara experience.

"A lot of hard work by the volunteers went in and it's brilliant to see the community come in to support it, because Kaipupu is theirs," Ms Keene said.

Ms O'Connell said she hoped the event would become as big as Alexandra's pest festival, where visitors brought 23,000 pests in 48 hours.

"We will do that, it will end up growing and being more awesome," she said.

The Marlborough Express