Introduced Species

Introduced species have wreaked havoc on native wildlife and plants, particularly on islands where there are many endemic species. In New Zealand, attempts have been made to rid our ecosystems of introduced species such as possums and rats, using a variety of means, from baits to biocontrol. All of these methods rely on an underlying understanding of behaviourif they are to work. . In one study, I worked with possums to observe their dominance behaviour in relation to stress (Wehi et al. 2006).

However, human-ecological concerns and values in relation to introduced species are also drawn from our cultural perceptions and experiences (Wehi and Roa 2020). In this research, I and my collaborators tease apart some of these issues, particularly where there are strong cultural histories. We are working on kiore, in the northern part of New Zealand with Ngātiwai, and elsewhere.
Grace Yee investigated introduced rats on Rēkohu, Chatham Island, for her Masters research. She created a handbook showing the common plants we identified in plant surveys in the southwest of the island.


  • Wehi PM, Watene K, Kamelamela K, Reo N (in prep). Strong with the wind: introduced species, social justice and Indigenous flourishing.
  • Ricardo H, Wilson DB, Wehi PM (in prep.). Kiore demographics on Slipper Island.
  • Wehi PM & Roa T 2020. Reciprocal relationships: identity, tradition and food in the Kīngitanga poukai. Invited book chapter. In: Interdisciplinary Perspectives on Participation and Food Justice. Ed. Clement Loos. University of Arkansas Press. doi:
  • Ricardo H, Wilson DB, Wehi PM 2020. Kiore (Rattus exulans) distribution and relative abundance on a small highly modified island. New Zealand Journal of Zoology  
  • BioHeritage Bioethics Panel 2019. Predator Free New Zealand: Social, Cultural, and Ethical challenges. Biological Heritage National Science challenge. 32 pp.
  • Wehi PM, Barrell GK & Hickling GJ 2006. Hormonal correlates of social rank in an asocial species, the common brushtail possum (Trichosurus vulpecula). Ethology 112: 639-648. 10.1111/j.1439-0310.2005.01185.x
  • Jolly SE, Scobie S, Spurr EB, McAllum C; Cowan P 1998. Behavioural effects of reproductive inhibition in brushtail possums. In: Biological control of possums: report of a workshop sponsored by the National Science Strategy Committee for Possum & Bovine TB Control, 21-23 April 1997, Lynch, R. ed. Royal Society of New Zealand Miscellaneous Series 45: 125-127.