Welcome to the team, John – we’re looking forward to creating more kiwi-safe habitat with you!

Many of you already know John Bissell as the face of Backblocks Environmental Management Ltd and all things predator control related. Kiwis for kiwi are honoured to welcome John to the team as our National Predator Advisor, a role that was created and paid for by Jobs for Nature funding that Kiwis for kiwi received as part of the government’s COVID Response and Recovery Fund in late 2020.

Hailing from the Wairarapa, John has worked as a park ranger and biodiversity ranger, environmental planner, project manager, and pro hunter both in New Zealand and overseas. In 2016, he set up Backblocks Environmental Management Ltd to offer conservation groups and projects a one-stop shop for advice and high-quality environmental work. His speciality is high quality predator control (he has a particular ‘passion’ for stoats and ferrets) to protect threatened species like kiwi, and the demand for his services has been very high.

Initially, John will be focused on advising and supporting large-scale predator control projects that Kiwis for kiwi is funding through Jobs for Nature. He will also assist in the development of a ferret management resource, create how-to content to support kiwi practitioners, and will be available on a limited basis to respond to predation events. All of his work through Kiwis for kiwi will support our long-term vision to create more safe habitat and increase the kiwi population by 2% every year.

Despite only being with Kiwis for kiwi for a short time, John has already been very busy. In October last year he attended the Northland Kiwi Hui as a speaker and attendee. He has advised and guided The Forest Bridge Trust, a Jobs for Nature project an hour north of Auckland, on their predator control management regime. Earlier this year, he spent time on Motutapu in Auckland’s Hauraki Gulf where he worked with the Department of Conservation and Ngāi tai ki Tāmaki to assess their trapping situation and provide recommendations, in response to a stoat incursion that occurred on the motu (island) just before Christmas.

We are very proud to add John to the Kiwis for kiwi whānau and are excited to see how his expertise in predator management will benefit kiwi conservation.