Save Our Babies – Get Behind The Fence

Pests such as rats, stoats and possums are killing our baby native birds and animals, and species are going extinct. Now you can help stop this tragedy.

The Brook Waimarama Sanctuary is building a 14km pest-proof fence in Brook Valley, Nelson, which will create a 700 hectare protected nursery. When completed it will allow native birds and animals to flourish behind the fence, and spread throughout the region and back into our lives.

Get behind the fence! Sponsor one (or more) of the 7000 fence posts required to complete the project, and help save the babies!

Sponsor A Fence Post

Save our babies and create a future for all our families

New Zealand is facing a biodiversity crisis. Many native birds, animals and plants are being wiped out by introduced pests. Protection efforts centred on trapping, hunting, and poisons are insufficient to save many of our rarest species. Without a defined barrier, total pest exclusion is unachievable and even small numbers of stoats, possums and rats inflict significant damage to our precious endangered species. Without urgent action, our unique birdsong will not be heard by future generations.

Why build a fence?

Mother and Daughter

There are two ways to allow indigenous fauna to recover. One is the continuous control of pests through the use of traps, toxins and hunting, as practiced at sites like the Rotoiti Nature Recovery Project. The second is the construction of a pest-proof fence and eradication of pests inside it. This is the option selected for the Brook Waimarama Sanctuary for several reasons:

  • Continuous control of some pests (like rats and mice) is very difficult
  • Some pests (like stoats and feral cats) can do considerable damage even when in very low numbers
  • Some pests may boom in numbers some years (like rats and mice in response to beech seed) and can be almost impossible to control
  • It allows ‘zero’ pests to be achieved, resulting in a more rapid process of restoration and the introduction of the full range of species once present at the site, including the most endangered
  • It reduces the need to continuously apply poisons and the killing of pest animals is largely restricted to the initial eradication.

“To enable present and future generations to experience our unique wildlife, we need predator-free areas like the Brook Waimarama Sanctuary. This wonderful project will have many benefits for the region, not only environmental and educational but also as a major visitor attraction. I strongly urge you to support the trustees in making the sanctuary a reality.”

Kerry Marshall, former Mayor of Nelson City and Tasman District

How does the pest-proof fence work?


Pest-proof fencing in New Zealand was developed independently by two groups, at Karori in Wellington and Cambridge in the Waikato, with each researching the climbing, jumping and digging abilities of different pests. Their designs were similar: a fine mesh too small for even baby mice to squeeze through, dug into the ground to prevent burrowing, as high as a deer fence to stop animals jumping in, with a curved metal cap to stop animals climbing over the top.

Pest-proof fences have been in use in New Zealand since 1999. From a wetland at Omaha in Northland to a kiwi fence in a private forest in Stewart Island, they are providing protection for native species from mice, rats, weasels, stoats, ferrets, hedgehogs, rabbits, hares, possums, feral cats, dogs, goats, sheep, cattle, pigs and deer. While Karori Sanctuary was the first, the most ambitious is at Mt Maungatautari, near Cambridge, where a 37km fence stretches around a dormant volcano, enclosing over 3000 hectares of mixed podocarp forest.

What will the Brook Waimarama Sanctuary be like after the fence is built?


Imagine a place where native plants and animals thrive, without threat from introduced pests; alive with birdsong, where rare species such as kiwi, tuatara and kakapo roam freely; where you can get involved and make a difference; where visitors can see native flora and fauna close to home. We’re working to make this vision real.

“The Brook Sanctuary provides an outstanding opportunity for people from our community to experience the diversity and sheer beauty of New Zealand’s flora and fauna. In particular, the chance for all those wanting to learn about our special environment is made real by the sanctuary. Its place as a unique and valuable education and learning resource, and environment is worthy of support – whether in terms of time or money.”

Tony Gray, Chief Executive, Nelson Marlborough Institute of Technology

We need your help to bring the Brook Waimarama Sanctuary to life.

Girl and Saddleback

Sponsor A Fence Post