Rangi Nui Rabbits is one of the winning entries of the Crux Media Project Phoenix competition. This initiative was launched during the Covid-19 lockdown to seek business and community-based ideas that solved a local problem.
Wild rabbits are one of our biggest problems in Queenstown and Central Otago. Cute as they may be, they are a devastating scourge that is out of balance and ruining our local ecology. In some areas they are reaching plague proportions. Yes, they “breed like rabbits”! Rabbits reproduce every 6 weeks and one female rabbit is capable of having up to 50 babies a year! Imagine how many 20 rabbits per hectare can quickly become.
Rabbits compete for pasture and crops and cause land degradation. They graze on native vegetation. Loss of vegetation reduces soil organic matter, which reduces water holding capacity and permeability, and therefore reduces soil fertility. Rabbit grazing also causes soil erosion and stream bank erosion, which can in turn affect water quality.
Based in the Central Lakes District, and brought together by Charlotte Mill, we are a collective of fashion designers and precision hunters who are all passionate about rabbit control and sustainability.
Rangi Nui is the “great sky”. It watches over us and the vast expanse of pristine land from which we harvest our wild rabbits. This connection with the sky and the land links us to Ngai Tahu iwi with whom we collaborate on employment initiatives in the district.