These courses train and certify course participants to carry out field monitoring of possum populations to the standards of the national trap catch protocol. People who wish to undertake monitoring contracts for any of the agencies involved in possum control require this certification.

Monitoring course certificates are recognised by the OSPRI, Regional Councils, the Department of Conservation, and contractor organisations.

Information for participants

Each course extends over two days commencing at 8.30am on the first day and finishing late afternoon on the second day.

There will be a tutorial session after dinner on the evening of the first day.

The course tutors are drawn from practicing and experienced operators with an emphasis on individual tuition to assist in working through both the tutorial course materials and the field exercises.

What does a field operative monitoring course cover?

Pre-course : Written study materials and exercises are sent out 3-4 weeks before the course covering the use of the compass, map work and bush navigation skills required to implement the monitoring protocol in the field. It is very important that this material be studied, and any exercises completed, before attending the course. This will definitely assist your assessment for accreditation.

Information Packs contain the key publications on possum control and monitoring that a contractor needs to have. The material covers technical information, best practice, statutory obligations, monitoring tasks and responsibilities, and details of training courses.

The cost of pre-course material and information packs are included in the course fee.

The course content covers:

  • The trap catch protocol in detail and its application to field monitoring.
  • Applying map, compass and bush navigation skills to the standards required by the protocol.
  • An introduction to the planning and design concepts on which the field work is based.
  • Implementing a field plan.
  • Recording trap catch results.
  • Setting traps to the protocol standards.
  • The waxtag protocol in detail and its application to field monitoring.
  • Background to the Waxtag method.
  • Brief overview of design requirements.
  • Using waxtags in the field.
  • Identification of bite marks.
  • Data recording.
  • Calculating the Possum Activity Index (PAI).
  • Monitoring contractors using the waxtag method.

The courses include inside and practical outdoor work. You will need to bring the following with you:

  • Hammer
  • Hip chain
  • Pencils, eraser, pens, ruler
  • Compass (Silva type brand recommended NOT floating card types.)
  • Note paper (A4 size)
  • Wet weather gear, bush clothing and boots.

Course Assessment

Candidates must achieve a pass in each of the assessments for the course attended. The assessments cover:

  • Separate written tests on knowledge of the protocol and map work.
  • Practical tests covering trap setting, navigation, orienteering, and recording trap catch results.


Participants who meet the course assessment requirements will get a certificate and will be accredited and registered as a Field Operative (Waxtag and Trap Catch Methods).

An accreditation is current for a period of two years and is renewed on meeting the minimum requirements of two operations in the two years.

Course Programme and Enrolment

Check course times and locations in the course programme

For enrolment information see Course Registration.

If you require any further information please call the helpline on 027 945 1719.