Taranaki youngster leading the charge towards pest-free NZ, one trap at a time

The goal of a predator-free New Zealand by 2050 is ambitious for the best of us, let alone a 12-year-old from Taranaki.

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Monica Joyce learned all about animal trapping at Omata School. Source: Seven Sharp

But that’s just what Monica Joyce is doing everything she can to make happen.

There's a lot of can-do in the Joyce family, which features six children, Annabelle, Monica, Leo, Jenna, Luke, and Jacob.

Monica is an environmentalist who’s declared war on introduced species who are threatening our wildlife.

Monica traps hedgehogs, rats, stoats, and ferrets in traps her family checks before school.

The fact they have time is even more amazing when you consider how busy this family is.

"Every second morning I milk, I help Annabelle get the lunchboxes and the bags, help get the kids dressed and ready for school, and then it's off to school with us,” Monica said.

Monica learned all about trapping at Omata School, one of 60 schools the Taranaki Regional Council works with.

The council provides traps and teaches kids how to protect their environment.

"Some of them are getting anxious about the world, and I think this gives them a lot of hope, they see progress from what they're doing,” Taranaki Regional Council’s Chauncy Ardell said.

Monica's the third generation of Joyces to farm this land and her energy and enthusiasm has flowed through the whole family to five-year-old Jacob.

"Even if we haven't accomplished it by 2050 we can keep going and keep going and keep pushing until we reach that goal,’ Monica said.