Citizen Science

Collecting data collaboratively - for the good of our biodiversity


To better protect the native flora and wildlife of New Zealand we all love so much, we need to understand it's current state and how it changes overtime. We do this by monitoring different elements of biodiversity. Pest Free Kaipātiki has undertaken Citizen Science in 2017, 2018 and 2019.

In 2019 we expanded our monitoring campaign to the much larger 'Citizen Science Month' which we aim to promote every year in July. In July 2019, we hosted a Family Fun Day where we launched four new monitoring topics and ways for the community to get involved. Every year you and your family can now get involved with:

In 2019, 95 fantastic Kaipātiki volunteers got involved, giving over 265 volunteer hours towards monitoring our biodiversity. Thank you everyone who took part. 


1) Rat Chew Card Counts 2017, 2018, 2019

Pest Free Kaipātiki has these preliminary chew card results for rats in 2019:

Click on the image above to see the chew card results for rats from 2017 to 2019. 

2) Bird Counts 2019

Pest Free Kaipātiki Restoration Society is committed to protecting and enhancing all forms of our native biodiversity through pest control and restoration. Birds are at the top of most people's list when they think of making our neighbourhoods a wildlife haven. In 2019 we incorporated 5MBC's into the Citizen Science Programme. The aim each year will be to encourage as many people as possible to create a monitoring point in their backyard or a reserve - and do a 5 five minute bird count there during Citizen Science Month. PFK will collect the results each year and feed this information back to the community.


Thank you to everyone who spotted birds in our 2019 campaign, the species that have been seen in the area during that period can be found below:  

Bird Photography Challenges

The challenges to be the first person to photograph

and send in photos of the following species

are still open! 


  • Kākā (FOUND!)

  • Miromiro (North-Island Tomtit) (FOUND!)

  • Pekapeka (New Zealand Bat)



3) Freshwater:

Wai ora literally refers to water, both as a resource and as an essential part of

the environment that provides sustenance for life. Here in Kaipātiki we are lucky

to have a diverse range of ecosystems, and many catchments and streams.

Some are in good health which is wonderful, others poorly with pollution entering

the waterway, banks invaded by environmental weeds and sediment from the

built environment clogging up areas. We want clear, healthy streams with lots of

shade and overhanging vegetation to provide food and homes for invertebrates,

native fish and other forms of life - not to mention our own health and wellbeing!

The first step towards this is adopting a stretch of water and monitoring

it's health. 

In 2020 we are excited to announce that Kaipatiki Project have teamed up with us and will be promoting freshwater education and opportunities to monitor aquatic environments. We will be contacting all those people who in the past have indicated a desire to monitor streams, and encourage this year's 2020 volunteers to register their interest through our website as well. 


What's involved:

Freshwater monitoring is quite simple, fun and very meaningful. Two types of tests are conducted that the whole family can do:


  • Physical/chemical tests - measuring water temperature, clarity, pH and nutrient levels

  • Biological tests - sampling and recording the range of macroinvertebrates (insects) found in a stream. 

To learn more about the training, email us your interest in participating at


4) Invasive weeds:

During Citizen Science Month 2019, we encouraged neighbours to download the EcoTrack app, and report weeds wherever they were seen at home, while walking, jogging or exploring their neighbourhood and local reserves. You can do this at any time, and the app has the benefit of being able to 'update' a weed instance once the pest plant has been controlled. This helps Pest Free Kaipātiki track what species are in the area, how abundant they are and the progress we are making as a community to become pest-plant free! 


During Citizen Science Month between the 28th July and 31st August:

  • 133 pest plant sites were reported

  • 23 unique species of pest plants were reported

  • There were 20 reported sites of Moth Plant

  • There were 18 reported sites of Wild Ginger

  • There were 24 reported sites of Woolly nightshade

  • 34 reported pest plants were controlled in some way (great work!)

Why do we need to Recognise & Report Pest Plants?


  • Once reported, Council, volunteers, residents and property owners can remove pest plants, stopping them from spreading across your property, neighbourhood and local reserves - be a good neighbour

  • After removal, we can replant with natives that offer many benefits in terms of beautification and provide food and habitat for birds, insects,  geckos and skinks.

  • If we update the record once the pest plant has been removed, we can track progress from year to year.


We encourage you again in 2020 to report as many pest plants as you can during the month of July. To learn more, visit our EcoTrack app page to learn how you can quickly and easily get setup for citizen science in July 2020. 

5) Monitoring the urban forest canopy through photopoints

In 2019 we incorporated a new topic into our Citizen Science campaign - photopoints. These are simple photos taken at the exact same place, facing the exact direction each time the photograph is taken. Overtime it very clearly shows the change in vegetation, a useful tool when we monitor how the native bush canopy, bush edge, weed control site or planting is changing. 

A big thank you to the few of you who took part, we hope to encourage more in 2020. PFK will no longer be using an iNaturalist Project as a repository for your Photopoints, so please for now send them direct each year to with a clear description. More about creating photopoints can be found here

Eastern Rosella, Starling, Spotted dove, Myna, House sparrow, Blackbird (male and female), Kōtare - Sacred kingfisher, Spur-winged plover, Tauhou - silver-eye, Southern black-backed gull, Red-billed gull, tūī, riroriro - grey warbler, pīwakawaka - fantail, Black-billed gull

Above: WaiCare monitoring activities

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We would like to acknowledge the generosity of all our supporters and stakeholders, but most especially:

The Regional Environment and

Natural Heritage Grant Programme

© Pest Free Kaipātiki 2018

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