Looking after our environment

​​​​Our work to enable a new neighbourhood in the city's south is not only Hamilton's biggest investment in growth, but it's also the city's biggest-ever investment in the environment. The environment is at the heart of everything we do. When Peacocke is complete it will include a multi-million-dollar investment to protect and enhance our natural taonga, green spaces and biodiversity .

When complete, Hamilton City Council's current investment in Peacocke will include:
  • More than 15ha of gully restoration work, including restoration planting, installation of artificial bat roosts and removing weed species, while ensuring tree species suit the local conditions as well as the needs of existing wildlife.
  • Pest and predator control to protect our restoration plant​ing as well as long-tail bats and lizards and support a flourishing native bird population.
  • Continued investment in monitoring wildlife behaviour and ways to support resident populations.
  • More than 1.5km of stream restoration to support native aquatic life such as long finned eels,
  • Stormwater management to minimise the effect of urban development on Mangakootukutuku stream, and maintain its ability to provide habitat for aquatic species.
  • Creation of around 30 wetland areas and positioning these to align with nearby gully corridors, providing larger low-light areas for bat foraging and access to habitats.
  • Tailoring planning rules to ensure impacts from future housing developments are offset by environmental initiatives.
  • Investigating the establishment of Significant Natural Areas to further protect special places from development.
  • Ensuring access to nature by enabling access to gullies and the river. Investigating measures through the Peacocke Structure Plan to provide an undeveloped open space buffer zone beyond the top edge of the Mangakootukutuku Gully and Waikato River.
  • Designing infrastructure to support a 30% shift away from cars to walking, cycling and passenger transport.

In addition to our investment in the environment, developers, community groups and landowners in the area will make investments that support the unique ecological makeup of the Peacocke area and its proximity to the Waikato River.

If you are an environmental or community group and want to get involved, please contact us at peacocke@hcc.govt.nz ​

​What's happened so far?

We've been busy over the past few months starting work on some of our environmental projects in Peacocke. 

 Looking after long-tailed bats:

Council recognises that long-tailed bats have the highest ranking in the New Zealand threat classification system as being a nationally critical threatened species. Hamilton is unique as it is one of the only urban environments in the country with long-tailed bat populations living in the city.

 Waka Kotahi NZ Transport Agency and the Council have been conducting environmental research into bat behaviour as part of the Southern Links transport project south of the city. The tracking and monitoring programme was undertaken by specialist bat ecologists and we've already added new information to what was already thought about bat habitats and flight patterns.

 The research is already adding new information to what was previously thought about bat habitats and flight patterns for the long-tailed bat, one of two native bat species surviving in New Zealand.

 Among the findings has been the confirmation that bats are roosting in man-made roosting boxes – referred to as 'bat houses'.  This is the first-time detailed recordings have been made of groups of bats using the artificial houses in Hamilton.

The Department of Conservation was engaged with on this work and contributed extra resources to extend the tracking programme to increase the amount of data gathered. 

The first 80 of 100 artificial bat roosts or 'bat boxes' have now been installed to provide roosting opportunities for critically-threatened long-tailed bats (pekapeka-tou-roa). (Picture of bat box being installed from recent newsletter)

As well as standard Kent-style wooden bat boxes, we've imported 10 German-made Schwegler bat boxes as a trial. Long term monitoring will help us understand whether bats show any preference for the type or location of artificial roosts and inform how we use bat boxes in the future.

Bats don't stop at the borders of Peacocke, so Council is working with our neighbouring councils, agencies and partners to commence the development of a regional bat plan which will help agencies collaborate on data and information to support enhancement of long-tailed Bat populations.​

​​Looking after lizards:

In Peacocke, we've surveyed areas in search of skinks and lizards with the aim of enhancing the extent and quality of habitat for native species, most commonly the copper skink. This involves building two brand new habitats and restoration of 15ha of gully and 1.5km of streams.

Lizard surveying includes four methods;

  • Leaving artificial cover objects (like sheets of corrugated iron or concrete) in areas to attract lizards so they can be relocated by an ecologist. These objects are also known as ACO's.
  • Day searching of natural areas including leaf litter, under fallen woody debris, under rocks and below ACO's.
  • Night spotlighting for a total of 25 hours across 11 sites. Surveyors use LED headlamps to search near trees.
  • Installing safe traps that don't hurt the lizards so that an ecologist can relocate lizards out of harm's way (these are called G-minnow traps).

We have plans in place to complete this work including a Lizard Management Plan and an Environmental Management and Monitoring Plan (EMMP). We're also guided and supported by ecologists and specialists along the way to ensure the correct procedures take place.​

Page reviewed: 06 May 2020 5:23pm