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Squad of highly trained canines gather in Bay of Islands to check on pest-free status

A squad of highly trained canines and their handlers have gathered in the Bay of Islands to check up on the area's pest-free status, 10 years since it first made the grade.

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1 NEWS reporter Helen Castles went along to see them in action. Source: 1 NEWS

The gathering of conservation dogs from around the country is likely to be a more common event as New Zealand attempts to become predator free by 2050.

Department of Conservation dog handler Fin Buchanan explained to 1 NEWS the breed of dog best suited for the important job.

"We choose terriers because they've been bred for centuries to hunt rodents, they're very portable and the dogs need to get into little nicks and crannies," Mr Buchanan said.

The dogs are all trained to detect different pests. For example, Winks from Invercargill is the country's only certified spartina dog, spending his days looking for a weed that chokes estuaries.

The dogs gathered in the Bay of Islands are among 91 working for DOC around the country.

Watch them in action in the 1 NEWS report above.