Moa Conservation Trust Newsletter Summer 2015
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From the Chair 

Wow!! Our inaugural fundraiser, an elegant evening of Wild Food, was held earlier this month; what an evening, what a success. An amazing team effort, which included a big hand from generation Y on the night, with a result beyond anything we could have imagined. 

After all that kai moana and wild meat, there was an amazing dessert table laden with goodies.
We were very lucky to have Benn Jeffries behind his camera for the evening - check out some of the photos at

Everything eaten, drunk and sold on the night was donated, as were all the auction items and cracker prizes. A HUGE thank you to everyone who contributed to make this such a successful event – there is a list of sponsors below and we are very grateful for their support.  The generosity of our sponsors was matched by those of our guests, as well as kiwi bidders from overseas. 

As part of our fundraising drive we had also applied in October to the Wellington Community Trust (WCT) to assist with the purchase of traps for Stage 3 of our trapping programme (Whakanui Track project).  I am very pleased to advise that they have generously granted $8,000 to our cause for which we are extremely grateful.  WCT are very interested in the work we are doing and we are looking forward to an ongoing relationship with them.

With the funds provided by the WCT and the Wild Food evening we are now in an enviable situation of having more funds than we'd expected.  Though decisions have yet to be made on how surplus funds will be employed, it does provide us with opportunities to advance our trapping programme faster than previously planned.

The Goodnature A12 traps are now ordered with delivery due in mid-January next year.  The intention is to install them in late January / early February, so you will hear more on this shortly.  

So, the ‘wild’ party’s over, have a safe and Happy Christmas and then get those hiking boots on - we have possums to deal to!


Jamie McNaught

Did you know?

Largely solitary, possums do not form strong pair bonds or social groupings. Adult possums have a relatively long life expectancy compared with similar sized animals - in excess of 9 years for males and 12 years for females. Young possums, however, have a very low survival rate unless food supplies and den sites are in good supply. In one study, more than 70% of female offspring disappeared before their second birthday.

Most female possums breed from age 1 onwards. They usually give birth to one young a year, although they sometimes produce two. Autumn, April through to July, is the peak time for births, but a second offspring may be born in spring if food supplies are adequate. The pregnancy lasts for just 17–18 days, when a tiny (0.2 gram), furless, blind baby is born. The baby possum immediately crawls into its mother’s pouch and attaches itself to a nipple for about 70 days.

Young possums are weaned at 5–8 months, but they remain close to their mother until they are almost a year old.

A good food supply means lots of young. The ability to produce more than one offspring per year, and the enhanced survival of juvenile females when conditions are good, allows possum populations to increase rapidly in newly invaded areas or after populations have been reduced and controls have not been maintained.


Around the traps

It was with some trepidation and a good deal of determination that Caroline Sarfati ventured into the Orongorongo Valley for her first trap clearing expedition last week.

Seasoned trappers Deb McNaught and Liz Stringer were on hand to guide her through the process and hold the camera to capture the moment! Apparently the experience hasn’t put her off and she has already signed up for another trip in the New Year. The group bagged another five possums on that trip, with seven having been cleared just a few days before by our friends from the Rimutaka Forest Park Trust.  Given that in one year, 10 possums can eat over one tonne of vegetation, even removing just those 12 possums from the equation makes a difference.


Our sponsors - thank you, thank you, thankyou!

Main auction prizes
Air New Zealand 
Department of Conservation
Craggy Range
Kotu Station
NZ Rugby
Alastair & Jen Scott

Silent auction and cracker prizes
Ampro Sales
Formway Design
Tory and Ko. 
Lavenders Green 
Lote Railabula 
Jucy Rentals 
Bill Kermode
Whitebait Restaurant 
Kathryn Warwick 
Club Kelburn 
Ian Coutts
Paramount Theatre
Roxy Cinema
Sauce It
Wellington Phoenix
Singing Spaces
Furnish Home Design
Peninsula Arts Trail 

Fireball Co
Colliers International
Eleven –move the dial
Hey Smarty Pants
Benn Jeffries Images
Salty Trio

Hairy Mussel Co
Moa Brewing Company
Lion Nathan


Wellington Community Trust

LATEST NEWS: Jamie and Deb cleared 29 possums from the traps yesterday (Sunday 20 December)!
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