A survey of environmental and pest management attitudes on inhabited Hauraki Gulf islands.
The progression of pest eradication to inhabited islands is now possible due to the knowledge gained from successful eradications on uninhabited islands. However, the success of this is likely to be influenced by the attitudes of landowners. The consistency of island inhabitants' attitudes towards pest management, both within and among islands, is currently unknown. Therefore, we assessed the environmental and pest management attitudes of the communities of four inhabited islands in the Hauraki Gulf of New Zealand (Rakino Island, Kawau Island, Great Barrier Island (Aotea Island) and Waiheke Island) and compared the results with an adjacent mainland community to better understand this social influence. The results suggested that respondents from all four island communities had more overarching support for pest management and conservation in general than those from the mainland, reflecting greater levels of environmental concern. While it might be expected that strong positive environmental attitudes would translate into strong positive pest management attitudes, this was not always the case, with greater levels of uncertainty being associated with attitudes towards pest management. In particular, values associated with the environment and place attachment were related to environmental attitudes but were unrelated to pest management attitudes. The results do suggest, however, that pest eradication may have had long-term positive effects on the attitudes of inhabited island communities, with the residents of the only island from which rats have been eradicated (Rakino) having consistently more positive attitudes towards pest control. The findings of this study will help identify areas for future engagement and ways in which barriers to achieving pest eradication can be overcome.