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

Auckland's volcanic risk

Esther Samuels and TK Samuels help Boyd Rolleston who was caught in the toxic gas.

If the 'Shortland St' volcano went off in Auckland today, what would actually happen? We try to find out.

Govt scheme to increase housing

Hundreds of homes are planned for south Auckland under the Government's Crown Land Scheme. (file photo).

People wanting to buy a new house in south Auckland may soon be in luck.

Cop killer found in ceiling

Daniel Luff during his appearance in the High Court, in Palmerston North, for the murder of Feilding policeman Duncan Taylor,

Prison scholar Daniel Luff reportedly found hiding in prison ceiling cavity.

Kids come to league with nothing stuff nation video

Otara Scorpions chairman Willie Maea in front of the club's Verne Wilson mural.

The kids go without food, without love, without money. This rugby league club offers breakfast, sport and a way out of the stereotypes.

Wellington

Saved in the nick of time

Animal welfare inspector Gina Kemp carries Storm out from the ravine.

For three weeks a two-year-old pitbull was trapped at the bottom of a ravine in a park.

$98m boost for rail

Wellington rail commuters are on the receiving end of a Budget boost for the country's rail infrastructure.

Rail commuters on the receiving end of a Budget boost for Hutt, Melling and J'ville lines.

Mall meeting draws hundreds

Plans to redevelop Johnsonville Shopping Centre have been in the pipeline for years, with residents fed up with the slow ...

"What should the beating heart of the northern suburbs is on life support."

Road opponents band together

A Wellington lobby group fears a similar proposal to the controversial Basin flyover could be on the cards.

Lobby group formed amid fears of another central Wellington flyover plan.

Canterbury

Family 'impressed' by Budget video

Melanie and Rod Brown with 3-year-old son Harrison. The new tax thresholds announced in the Budget will mean families ...

Christchurch couple Rod and Mel Brown have a 3-year-old and another on the way.

'Dirty 30' named gallery

The heritage Peterborough Centre is mired in an insurance dispute.

Owners of derelict properties on a list of "dirty 30" in Christchurch could lose them if they do not take action.

Forager finds flavours of NZ

Check and re-check that foraged mushrooms are not poisonous, Peter Langlands says.

Even road-kill rabbit is fair game for dedicated forager Peter Langlands.

Police seek three missing men

Michael Craig McGrath went missing on Sunday evening.

Police issue separate advisories seeking sightings for three missing men in the South Island.

Waikato

Legally Blonde equally as good

Emily Foden, Maddie Hughes and Alex Pelham-Waerea are among the talented cast of Riverlea's Legally Blonde.

Emily Foden was one of  many stand-out actors cast in Legally Blonde, the musical.

Fines for calf abuse

Wayne Lyall Henry, 47, and Norman Arthur Baker, 71, were sentenced in the Hamilton District Court on Thursday in ...

One calf was dragged by its hind leg, others were left to die without water or shelter.

Contractor considering legal options

The earthworks that cost a South Waikato excavation company $19,000.

Excavation company pinged for breaching the RMA is considering legal options.

Concussion gets its own card

Waikato will introduce the Blue Card initiative into rugby from June 3.

Waikato's the latest union to implement the Blue Card as part of a plan to combat concussion.

Taranaki

Your Taranaki Arts Festival lineup

The inside of the Crystal Palace Spiegeltent in Havelock North for the 2016 Hawke's Bay Arts Festival.

If you love spiegeltents you will fall head over heels for the Crystal Palace at the 2017 Taranaki Arts Festival.

Business of beards video

Ngahina Wharehoka won the best beard trim in the Master section of the Barber Craft competition in Auckland last weekend.

There's two types of bearded men - those who can't be bothered shaving and those chasing trends.

Crash victim named

Police have identified the victim of the crash as 52-year-old Cherie Bidois from Waitara.

Police have identified 52-year-old Cherie Bidois, of Waitara, as the sole fatality in a crash in Gore.

Sport heroes needed

17022017 Sport Photo ANDY JACKSON/Fairfax NZ.    Super rugby, pre season, Hurricanes V Crusaders at Boarder rugby club ...

There are plenty of sportspeople who make the grade but just three will make the Hall of Fame.

Manawatu

What about more housing?

Toni-Marie Phillips and Sam Mokalei are sharing a room with two children as they wait to find an affordable home to rent.

A family of four are living in a single room. Does the Budget help them?

Boost not enough

Mental health services will receive an extra $224 million over four years.

Campaigner says people with mental health problems need more government help.

Yay, it's a boring Budget

Steven Joyce's Budget won't win a lot of votes, but it won't lose them either.

OPINION: Steven Joyce's first Budget is the best kind; conservative and not unpopular.

Gorge gouge delays

The gorge is expected to be closed for at least another week while the damage is repaired.

A crumbling retaining wall has pushed back the reopening of the gorge another week.

Nelson

Robbery 'guts' Mapua bakery boss

24052017 NEWS PHOTO BRADEN FASTIER
Mapua Village Bakery owner and baker Sean Carley gets back to business so not to ...

Mapua Village Bakery owner Sean Carley is picking up the pieces after a brazen robbery that has left him and his staff shaken.

Player passes away

Waitohi prop Bevan Moody during his final game of club rugby, against  Nelson at Neale Park on Saturday.

Family and friends are mourning for Bevan Moody, who has died after collapsing in a club rugby match.

Store broken into for third time

Garry Higgins of Richmond Roast House and Cafe has been burgled three times since Easter.

The Richmond Roast House and Cafe owner says his store has been broken into three times since the Queen St upgrade.

'Shanty town' fears gallery video

A fire pit, chili bin, rubbish and car seats in the bush at Reilly st.

Old cars, campsites and piles of rubbish left behind at popular freedom camping spot.

Marlborough

Mac is the man

Richard McNamara will be responsible for Tasman, Marlborough-Kaikoura, the West Coast, North Canterbury, Christchurch ...

Marlborough's rural fire boss Richard McNamara has landed one of the top jobs in the new amalgamated fire service.

Help for renters

Finance Minister Steven Joyce holds up a copy of Budget 2017, which includes the Family Incomes Package.

Budget reacts to "crazy" city rents in Blenheim, but will landlords follow suit?

Board that kicked the hornet's nest

The board is reconsidering moving district nurses to the health hub on Queen St, in the former FloorPride Civic Theatre ...

Angry mob warns health boss he'll get stung if he shifts district nurses away from hospital.

Waitohi decide not to play

Moutere goal kicker Junior Filipo, pictured in action against Kahurangi last Saturday, will be a key player if the ...

The Waitohi Rugby Club has opted not to play their final Tasman Trophy division one fixture on Saturday.

South Canterbury

Trust lost after salmon released

High Country Salmon assistant farm manager Josh Wyber was devastated to find 6000 salmon had been illegally released ...

Salmon farm ramps up security measures following illegal release of 6000 fish.

Jubilee report released

Jared Reese Husband, 47, of Timaru, was one of three men killed when FV Jubilee sank on October 18, 2015.

Running hose may have led to the deaths of three fishermen, report says.

'Manipulative' woman to blame

The man accused of the manslaughter of Ashburton man Arran Gairns was 'manipulated' by female associate, defence counsel ...

Manslaughter accused was 'manipulated' by mastermind, defence counsel says.

Volunteers rue mower theft video

A $6000 ride on lawn mower was stolen from Te Aitarkihi Trust which runs the Multi Cultural Centre on Bridge Street, ...

Volunteers of Maori Multicultural centre near Timaru hit by theft for a second time.

Southland

Deep south trees go viral

A Catlins macrocarpa stock shelter belt is going viral thanks to US lifestyle website Brightside.me.

A Catlins macrocarpa stock shelter belt is going viral thanks to US lifestyle website Brightside.me. 

Live: The Budget

Labour leader Andrew Little uses a dollar coin to illustrate his point.

Labour leader Andrew Little dismisses Finance Minister Steven Joyce's Budget.

Two chemical spills in Invercargill

Fire crew in full protective gear cleaning up a chemical spill, of polyaluminium chloride, which fell of the back of a ...

Fire crew in full protective gear cleaned up a chemical spill following an earlier spill on the same stretch of road.

SBHS topple rivals

Southland Boys' High halfback Tim Price passes the ball during the interschool game against Otago Boys' High School in ...

Southland Boys' High School works hard in a thrilling win over Otago Boys' High School.

Ad Feedback