Lake Hayes community rabbit management

We are supporting a community response to rabbit management in the Lake Hayes area by bringing together affected landowners and occupiers to discuss the problem, and collectively work out solutions.

Working in a coordinated manner with your neighbours will help to more effectively reduce rabbit numbers and decrease their impact on the environment.

Rabbits are a priority pest in Otago, and they present complex challenges for pest management.  Under the rules in our Regional Pest Management Plan, all landowners/occupiers in Otago must control feral rabbit densities on the land they occupy if densities exceed our rule limits. 

Plan Rule - An occupier within the Otago region shall control feral rabbit densities on the land they occupy to at or below Level 3 on the Modified McLean Scale (MMS).

Our facilitation work undertaken in the Lake Hayes area this year has included:

  • Online survey and initial drop-in session to better understand what you, as a landowner/occupier in the area, know and feel about the rabbit problem in the neighbourhood, how this affects you, and rabbit control options currently used, or available to you and your neighbours.
  • Community meeting to discuss how large-scale, long-term, sustainable rabbit management can be achieved across Lake Hayes.
  • Meetings with Queenstown Lakes District Council (QLDC), the Department of Conservation (DOC) and Land Information New Zealand (LINZ) to discuss options for long-term, sustainable rabbit control on land that they own/administer.
  • Formation of a Steering Group comprising five local residents plus representatives from DOC and QLDC to support the development of a Management Plan for Lake Hayes, plus the inaugural meeting of this Steering Group.

Our Biosecurity staff have recently inspected properties throughout the Lake Hayes area to determine which areas are most affected by rabbits, which properties are managing rabbits well, and which properties require a greater level of control.

The recent inspections undertaken in the Lake Hayes area have identified which properties have significant densities of rabbits and are likely to be non-compliant. These inspections were carried out by our Biosecurity staff, who are all ‘authorised persons’ under the Biosecurity Act 1993 and are warranted to enter your property for this purpose. The inspections were undertaken on crown and public land as well as private properties.


Proposed Lake Hayes management area

Proposed Lake Hayes management area


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Email updates

If you haven’t already done so, please register your email address using this form to receive future updates, including any changes to these plans that may be necessary as a result of Covid-19 lockdown restrictions.


Key links

Presentation - Lake Hayes Neighbourhood Rabbit Management - Second Workshop 14 July 21

Notes from Second Workshop 14 July 21

Community meeting

What: Webinar - Lake Hayes rabbit problem – what we learnt and next steps

When: 6pm-8pm, 11 November 2021

A recording of this meeting is available here.

Next steps

We will follow this webinar with an in-person workshop to assist you with the development of a rabbit management plan for your property. This workshop will be a drop in session rather than a presentation.

What: Workshop - Rabbit Management Plans

When:  6pm to 8pm, 19 November 2021

Where: Lake Hayes Pavilion, Lake Hayes  

If you miss the webinar, we strongly encourage you to watch the recording before attending the workshop. A recording of the webinar will be made available on this page.

Download the Rabbit Management Plan Template below

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