Rats run amok in historic seaside suburb on Auckland's North Shore gallery

The rat population has exploded after a warm winter. File picture.
DOMINICO ZAPATA/FAIRFAX NZ

The rat population has exploded after a warm winter. File picture.

Rats are running rampant in an historic Auckland suburb, after two years of a rodent mating free-for-all on a volcanic cone.

Mt Victoria in the seaside suburb of Devonport has had rat traps prohibited since a Maori authority took over its care, under a Treaty settlement, in 2014.

But, with Devonport residents complaining of a rat epidemic in the surrounding streets, after a warm winter, the Tūpuna Maunga Authority will install bait stations across Mt Victoria prior to Christmas.

A rat caught using a council-provided bait station placed in Devonport resident, Graham Pettersen's backyard.
SUPPLIED

A rat caught using a council-provided bait station placed in Devonport resident, Graham Pettersen's backyard.

Roger Giles has run the Devonport Folk Club situated on top of Mt Victoria since 1970 and says rat numbers are particularly bad this year.

READ MORE:
Jakarta offers bounty to citizens who catch rats
Brazen rats ruin riverside picnics
Government sets target to make New Zealand 'predator-free' by 2050

"I said to the Maunga [Authority] it's a serious problem. Everyone tells me they've got rats in their garden, rats in their roofs and it's noted in Devonport," Giles said.

Roger Giles outside the Devonport Folk Club he has run for 46 years atop Mt Victoria, which has ongoing rat issues.
TOM DILLANE/FAIRFAX NZ

Roger Giles outside the Devonport Folk Club he has run for 46 years atop Mt Victoria, which has ongoing rat issues.

"A pair of rats, I've been told, in a 12-month period they'll have 5000 rats [babies] in a year."

Tūpuna Maunga manager Scott De Silva said there have been pest-control measures focusing on possums and rabbits on Mt Victoria since 2014, but they are now widening them to rats.

"Mt Victoria will be the first maunga to receive the benefits of a new rat-control programme," De Silva said.

Graham Pettersen caught two rats in his Devonport backyard in the first week of using his bait station.
SUPPLIED

Graham Pettersen caught two rats in his Devonport backyard in the first week of using his bait station.

"If successful, that programme will be rolled out to other maunga over the next few years."

Ad Feedback

The likely bait to be used will be diphacinone, which De Silva says is considered the safest available - staying in the soil the least amount of time and having an antidote vets can administer to pets.   

But Giles is sceptical of the Tupuna Maunga Authority's past pest-control targets.

"I walk around here every day, I'd know if there were possums. Once you've gone through all the species, rabbits, moas, the works, you'll finally find the only thing there is is bloody rats," Giles said.

Reported encounters with rats have increased throughout the Devonport community over the last year.

"We've lived here for 25 years and we'd been in our house nearly 20 years before we had a rat. Certainly, in the last year, it's been a lot worse I think," Devonport resident Tania Stewart said.

Devonport Primary School is located at the base of Mt Victoria and principal Melinda Bennett says pupil-rat interactions are a common occurrence in the playground.

"It's not uncommon to find a child dangling sushi - offering it to the rats," Bennett said.

Despite the lack of traps on Mt Victoria itself, the Devonport Peninsular Trust has been provided with around 50 rat bait stations from Auckland Council for residents to pick up free of charge.

One Devonport resident who did so was Graham Pettersen, who caught two rats in his first week using the trap:

"Rats are an ongoing issue, there are always rats around. It's quite normal to use a trap and we bait it with peanut butter but at two times of the year we're supposed to be using poison for a short period. Because you get a much better kill rate. The rats don't get bait shy."

 - Stuff

Ad Feedback
special offers
Auckland

Body found in water

The body was found in the Manukau Harbour on Wednesday afternoon.

Three boys fishing in Auckland's Manukau Harbour dragged the man's body to shore.

NZ's 'ladette' problem drinkers

RTDs, or 'alco-pops', are the drink of choice for young, heavy drinking women.

Women under 24 are drinking "just like the lads" - and RTDs seem to be the go-to tipple.

Max Key's nugget challenge video

An hour in, Key said he never wanted to eat a chicken nugget again.

He teamed up with competitive eater Nela Zisser to eat 500 chicken nuggets but it didn't go so well.

Disappointing summer affects olive yields

Yields are down this year across the country.

There's lean pickings in the Bay of Plenty as storms reduce yield by 90 percent.

Wellington

Van stolen twice in four days

26042017 News. CAMERON BURNELL/FAIRFAX NZ Musician and Banjo player Helena Faust with her camper van which was stolen ...

Having your car stolen isn't fun, especially when it happens twice inside of a week.

Stepdad 'beat up rapist'

A Paraparaumu man has gone on trial for beating the man who raped his stepdaughter.

His teen stepdaughter was raped. Now he's accused of bashing the man who did it.

Gang trust to win charity case

A charitable trust with Head Hunters ties is set to win its appeal against being taken off the registered charities ...

Deregistered charity looks set to win appeal, despite links to the Head Hunters gang.

Prayers on council agenda queried

Lower Hutt councillor Chris Milne took issue with Christian prayers being added to the committee meeting agenda, "in ...

Lower Hutt councillor criticises inclusion of "religious statement" at meeting.

Canterbury

'P house' for bargain hunters

This one-bedroom, one-bathroom house in Blenheim is going under the hammer with methamphetamine contamination.

'Cosy' Blenheim flat is going under the hammer complete with a meth contamination.

Cop on murder charge

Constable Ben McLean has been a policeman in Invercargill since 2007.

Police officer charged with murder handed himself in 40 minutes after deadly Invercargill shooting.

Teacher slapped student's face

The teacher lashed out after her 11-year-old grandson giggled as she talked about a parent's funeral service.

Woman lashed out after her grandson giggled as she talked about a parent's funeral

Brownlee calls for judicial review

Concerned neighbour Karen Harrison speaks to residents at a protest against establishing a funeral home on Rochdale St.

Gerry Brownlee calls for a review of the approval of a suburban Fendalton funeral home.

Waikato

Life in a car with 11 pets

Shirley McMillan holds Cosima and Huia beside husband Selwyn, with Kandee, in the car that has become their home.

The couple are "desperate" after being kicked out by their landlord. But the animals keep them going.

Bush body recovered video

A police car has been parked overnight at the end of Te Puru Creek Rd where the track starts.

Residents fear the body found in bush land off Te Puru Forks is that of missing woman Anne Bunning.

Knitting goes down rabbit hole

Jacinta Stevenson does plus-sized knitting, the DIY market is one revenue stream, and finished products are also ...

Rogue knitting on a large scale.

How to earn a $10m paycheck

Mark Wilson grew up in Rotorua, studied at Waikato University and runs a billion dollar finance company.

How a Kiwi kid climbed to the top of the corporate ladder.

Taranaki

Peeking Panda, hidden flavour

New Asian inspired Oakura restaurant Peeking Panda will open its doors to the public next week. Left to right, Kohin ...

It's small, it's cute and it packs a lot of taste. It's Peeking Panda.

Drink drivers in court

Five offenders were dealt with in the New Plymouth District Court on Wednesday after being caught drink driving this month.

Community magistrate has little time for excuses from Taranaki men caught out drink driving

A late run of gold

Tayjs Russell, 5, Kobe Wildbore, 5, and Dylan Enables, 5, have been having a sun drench holiday thanks to a long run of ...

It's better than Summer but like all good things the good weather won't last.

A role model hospice

Sydney-based nurses Suzanne Sara (left) and Rachael Zielinski have been awarded a scholarship to come to New Zealand and ...

"They make you feel alive," one cancer patient said of Hospice Taranaki nurses.

Manawatu

Dialysis opens in Levin

Pat Hepi receives dialysis treatment at Horowhenua Health Centre.

Patients can now walk to appointments instead of a 40-minute drive to Palmerston North.

Fighting youths

Three people were taken into custody on the Church St side of The Square, after fighting among groups of young people.

Police was called to intervene after a group of young people began fighting at a busy shopping centre.

Woman badly hurt

An elderly woman was hit by a motorcycle at the intersection of High and Swinburn streets in Dannevirke on Tuesday night.

An elderly woman is in a critical condition after being hit by a motorcycle in Dannevirke.

Feeling the burn

Rob Kent feels the burn at the 2016 Palmerston North heat of the NZ Chilli Eating Champs. He is returning to defend his ...

Hot food fanatics prepare their guts for the spiciest competition in the land.

Nelson

Electric vehicle convoy charges through Nelson

Darryl Naidoo proudly showed his electric Tesla Model S during the Nelson stop of the Leading the Charge Electric ...

 Motoring's electric future was rolled out at Nelson's 1903 Square on Wednesday.

Age of loneliness

Age Concern Nelson-Tasman manager Sue Tilby says isolation is a real problem among the elderly.

Social isolation has been highlighted as the most common issue facing older people in Nelson.

Crews under pressure

The volume of trucks and heavy goods vehicles passing through Murchison has surged over the past six months.

Murchison volunteers respond to year's worth of crash call-outs in just four months.

Revolution urges fashion rethink

Trade Aid trustee John Marshall with a mannequin that is part of a display at the Nelson Elma Turner Library to raise ...

Nelson is joining the global movement Fashion Revolution for the first time this year.

Marlborough

Europe beckons for Liv

Marlborough mountain biker Liv Bishop is training hard for her forthcoming trip to Europe with the New Zealand junior team.

Excuse the obvious pun, but it's clear a young Marlborough mountain biker is "Liv-ing her dream".

Sky filled with smoke

Smoke drifts across the Wairau Valley from a forestry burnoff.

Huge clouds of smoke are from a farmer's burnoff, rural fire says.

I just want to go home

Amberley Rest Home manager Tracey Dimmock-Rump and 83-year-old Celia Wigmore, who has been without a place to call home ...

Injured and shipped out after the earthquake, finding a place to call home has been hard for this 83-year-old.

Back to base

The NH90 on display at the Yealands Classic Fighters Omaka Airshow.

After a week at a private airfield, the air force helicopter is back at Base Woodbourne.

South Canterbury

Super friendly clash for Timaru

Crusaders supporter Toby Carpenter (left) and Highlanders supporter Olly George both think their team will win the Super ...

Crusaders and Highlanders fans are in for a treat when the two sides clash in Timaru in July.

Park extension mulled

DOC is looking to expand the Aoraki/Mt Cook National Park boundaries to include Godley and Tasman braided riverbeds.

Discussions underway to expand Aoraki/Mt Cook National Park boundary.

Crash victim named

Rowan Alexander Yeager was found dead after a crash on Freehold Creek Bridge at Lake Ohau on Tuesday morning.

Police name man killed in crash near Lake Ohau on Anzac Day as Rowan Yeager.

Mental health services praised

A total of 0.6 per cent of suicides among those under the care of mental health services since 2012 in New Zealand were ...

The SCDHB is managing mental health services well, Labour's Health spokesman says.

Southland

'Unusual accident' claims climbers

Sharwan Chand and Conor Smith.

Killed climber's grandfather believes something went "drastically wrong" for pair to die in Fiordland.

Cop on murder charge

Constable Ben McLean has been a policeman in Invercargill since 2007.

Officer charged with murder handed himself in at the police station 40 minutes after the deadly shooting. 

What's in store for Jaffas?

Cadbury's landmark factory will close in early 2018.

The fate of NZ's most loved lollies after Cadbury's Dunedin factory closes is unclear. 

Sniffer dog hunts for velvelteaf

Invercargill man John Taylor has trained his border collie Rusty to find velvetleaf plants.

"Rusty has recently shown a proficiency in detecting velvetleaf.''

Ad Feedback