Eradicating bovine TB in NZ

As part of our TBfree programme we deliver our pest control operations through a framework of TB management areas (TMAs).

TMAs are areas with known TB infection in livestock and wildlife. Each TMA has a specific TB control plan designed to eradicate TB as effectively as possible.

The Wairau Waihopai TMA

The Wairau-Waihopai TMA covers about 115,400ha south-east of the Wairau River, including the catchments of the Waihopai, Leatham, Upper Wairau and Branch rivers.

The habitat is dry grassland interspersed with commercial forests and patches of scrub and bush. Altitudes range from several hundred metres above sea level to over 2000m.

Area map of the Wairau Waihopai TMAHistory of TB and pest control in Wairau Waihopai

The Wairau-Waihopai TMA has a history of TB infection in wildlife. We found:

  • TB infected pigs in the Byrons and Waihopai spray areas in 2005
  • TB infected ferrets in the area as recently as 2018
  • TB infected possums in 2021.

There are 27 herds within this TMA.

Previous possum control and livestock disease management has reduced the number of infected herds in the Northern Canterbury/Marlborough region. However, our monitoring has shown that we need to do further control work in the Wairau Waihopai area to reduce the possum population. This will:

minimise the risk of the disease spreading through wild animal populations into farmed cattle and deer
ensure further good progress towards eradicating TB.
We have completed ground based possum control in:

  • the Byrons
  • Upper Waihopai
  • Upper Wairau-Rainbow
  • Waihopai Spray, and
  • Wairau South.

The Waihopai Spray operation covered over 12,368ha, and the Wairau South operation covered over 10,267ha. These operations were last completed in 2015. The Upper Waihopai operation covered over 5,125ha and was last completed in 2014.

During 2016/2017 we completed:

  • pig surveys across 85,609ha in the Byrons, Leatham, Upper Waihopai, Upper Wairau and Waihopai Spray areas
  • a ferret survey covering 3,463ha in the Wairau-Rainbow area.

We also competed aerial possum control in 2009 in the Upper Waihopai operational area, and covered approximately 9,816ha.

In 2019/2020 we completed a pig survey through the Leatham and Branch catchments.

In 2020/2021 we completed a possum survey along the southern riparian margins of the Wairau River.

Some areas such as Mangerturk have had very little or no control.

Current state

There are no infected herds in this TMA.

Future pest control operations

We plan our pest control operations up to 3 years in advance. The current year runs from July 2021 to June 2022.

Dates and control methods for pest control operations in Wairau Waihopai are provisional and subject to change. If you’re affected by any upcoming operations, our pest control contractors will contact you before work begins. They will:

  • talk you through the specifics of each operation
  • explain what you need to do before the operations start
  • get your consent for the work to be done.
Type of controlWhenCoverageWhere
Ground control2021/202225,400haMangerturk, Upper Wairau, Upper Wairau - Rainbow
Ground control2022/202311,500haUpper Wairau, Upper Wairau - Rainbow
Ground control2023/202411,500haUpper Wairau, Upper Wairau - Rainbow


Excell Biosecurity manages our pest control operations in Wairau Waihopai, and Manaaki Whenua – Landcare Research will be doing our wildlife surveys. Contact them directly if you have feedback or questions about upcoming operations.

Excell Biosecurity
Phone: 0508 392 355

Manaaki Whenua – Landcare Research
Phone: 03 321 9844

Your nearest local OSPRI office is in Greymouth.

OSPRI Greymouth office
PO Box 535
Greymouth 7840

Phone: 03 769 9098