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Goodnature & DOC win top design prize at Best Awards

Auckland, 14 October 2016 – Conservation company Goodnature and the Department of Conservation (DOC) have been awarded the top prize at the Best Design Awards, the biggest night of the Australasian design year.

Goodnature and DOC were given a coveted Purple Pin, awarded to the overall winner of each category. The two organisations entered the ‘Best Effect’ category which recognises designs that contribute most to a client’s (in this case DOC) bottom line.

The Goodnature team attended the glittering ceremony at Auckland’s Viaduct Events Centre this evening to receive their Award. There were a total of 1000 entries, with finalists representing the best graphic, interactive, moving images, spatial and product designs for the past year. Other categories include Nga Aho, for the best indigenous designs and Public Good, a category for designs that simply worked for the benefit of the community. The Best Awards are organised by the Designers Institute of New Zealand.

The Purple Pin was awarded for the dramatic impact that the Goodnature A24 self-resetting rat trap has had on DOC’s pest control programmes by increasing kill rates while at the same time reducing labour costs by up to 90 percent.

The A24 is the world’s only predator trap which self-resets up to 24 times before it needs to be reloaded by a human. Its auto lure pump system is the first technology in the world which allows lures to be kept fresh and enticing for up to six months. Results from the field are compelling, with recent independent research showing that the A24s kill 20 times more rats than traditional single action traps.

Stu Barr, Founder and Director at Goodnature, says it’s really exciting to see how clever design thinking can solve seemingly intractable problems. “When we started our business in 2005 with the vision of using design and technology to help native bird species recover, very few people thought we could create pest-free mainland sanctuaries. Today, the country has a plan to become completely pest-free by 2050 and native bird species such as tui and kaka are commonplace in Wellington’s parks and reserves. Rarer birds such as tieke (saddleback) and hihi (stichbird) are making a comeback too. It’s a really exciting time to be a conservationist. Our children will be able to enjoy our native bird species in their backyards.

“I firmly believe that New Zealand can be pest-free and it is both humbling and exciting to see so many New Zealanders, from Government through to individuals, sharing in this vision. I also commend DOC for their foresight in investing in a technology that seemed little more than fantasy at the time, which is now a potent weapon in pest eradication.”

National predator expert with DOC, Darren Peters welcomed the Award win, saying: “We came to Goodnature with a problem: we wanted to improve our trap technology so we could kill more pest species in a less labour-intensive way. Our research had proven that if we could boost pest kills in the field while reducing our largest associated cost, labour, it would be possible to create mainland pest-free islands where native bird species could sustainably recover through trapping.

“The development of the A24 self-resetting trap and auto lure pump system has been a game-changer in conservation pest control. We now have a trap which kills more rats, more humanely, than ever before. It has meant we can reduce our operational costs while better protecting vital ecosystems.

“I’m delighted that the Department of Conservation and Goodnature have picked up a Purple Pin at the prestigious Best Awards. The A24 really is a great example of how design-led thinking can revolutionise the ways in which we work.

“DOC is deploying thousands of these devices this year as part of our ongoing Battle for our Birds campaign.”

The A24s use technology to replace the human labour that was once required to lay and then maintain traps. Current DOC best practice for laying single action traps is that they should be checked every day for 10 days and once every two weeks after that forever. By comparison, A24s need to be checked only twice a year.

In an example project, whereas previously it cost $353 per hectare to lay traditional traps, with the A24s this was reduced to $130, a saving of over 50 percent in establishment costs. Furthermore, checking and maintenance costs using the A24 dropped to $38 per trap a year, as compared with $106 using traditional traps.

Thousands of A24s are being used around the country by councils, community groups and individuals. There have been some resounding trapping success stories. In November 2014 a network of 467 A24 traps was established over 200 hectares of beech forest at Harts Hill, Kepler Track, Fiordland National Park to control rats during a widely publicised beech mast/rat plague event. The A24 traps successfully reduced the rat population from a pre-treatment rat index of 68 percent to zero percent within twelve weeks and then sustained this at zero percent for the remainder of the project.

In another example, Goodnature partnered with DOC to use self-resetting traps as the sole tool to successfully eradicate rats from Native Island just off Stuart Island.

ENDS

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