Pest Free Paremata School

Students develop a huge amount of pride in their school grounds, and none more so than three young kaitiaki from Paremata School, who have set up Pest Free Paremata School to protect the native flora and fauna around their school.

Carter Birmingham, Ryan Tinney, and Devante Nichols, year 5 and 6 students from Paremata School, set up Pest Free Paremata early this year, following Carter’s initiative of trapping at home. What the students found was increased birdlife, especially Tūi and Kōtare, increased insects and lizards.

Devante Nichols, Ryan Tinney, and Carter Birmingham, presenting to the Porirua community about Pest Free Paremata School.

Identifying suitable locations, how to set and bait a trap, and how to deal with the catch were all valuable learning experiences, giving the students insight into rat and mice feeding behaviour and the impact of pest eradication. Following a number of weeks of trials and success, the trio approached the Paremata Residents Assn and successfully received funding to purchase additional traps, helping to build the Pest Free movement in Paremata.

The long-term impact they want to see is for the Pest Free Paremata School project to continue, through training for new students and continued funding, as well as the Pest-Free movement expanding out of the school grounds and into the community.

Carter Birmingham points out a Kākā to Ryan Tinney during their trip to Kāpiti Island.

“We wanted to have a positive influence on the gardens and bird-life around the school, and we hope to launch Pest-Free Paremata soon and inspire the community to get a trap for their own place. We’d also love other schools to start their own pest free project.”, says Carter. The trio are also planning to ensure the Pest Free initiative is running at their future college.

Their hard work, initiative, and long-term planning of their project meant that Ryan, Carter and Devante were one of the selected groups of kaitiaki in the Porirua region who won themselves an overnight trip to Kāpiti Island in the Kaitiaki ki a Kāpiti competition.

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