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Thanks to an active intervention program, at Whangarei Heads we really do have kiwi in our backyard.

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September 6th, 2018

2018 August update

Big thanks to Rolf
Rolf Fuchs has been the sole kiwi ranger at Whangarei DoC for the past few years.

He has done a fantastic job for kiwi community groups and the kiwi of our area and he is now moving on- Thanks Rolf – you work has been very much appreciated. Rolf is moving to the NRC team so we look forward to still working with him in his new role.

Two more BYK video releases

The next two videos from BYK are about to be released. Next Wednesday September 12th  Parua Bay School are hosting a “Movie Night” in conjunction with Whangarei Heads School for the release of the BYK video Premiere Screening of “Its My Egg” 

The other video Premiere of “Kiwi Monitoring”  will screen at the Butter Factory on the evening of 19th of September. It features our mate Darwin at Manaia Excavators quarry – your invitation to that one is on its way later but please note the date now.

Mokopuna has found Wally!
Mokopuna was one of the kiwi released at the Parua Bay community centre back in March- she is a young female kiwi.   After spending time in the pampas at the Lamb road quarry she headed north last month and has settled in the bush/pines at the end of Campbell. I suspected that she may have found a boy there because she was holding in a relatively small area and a nearby landowner confirmed that he had heard a male kiwi calling recently, so we were hopeful.

Last week I caught up with Moko for her transmitter band change – she has grown to 2450g and is looking good – but the big news is that she has found herself a boy.  The fattest male I have ever seen at 3250g!  He is our old mate Wally who we transferred to Limestone from the McGraths’s at Purua as a chick in 2006 and released at Kauri Mt in 2008. His transmitter failed in 2009 so he has been off the radar since then, I was just in the right place at the right time to catch him as he was sneaking through the pampas- maybe being so tubby made him easier to catch too! He has travelled a little way and by his weight has been sitting on his butt enjoying single life ever since then. He is in for a crash diet if they start nesting! The other good news is that it is a safe place for kiwi. The property owner and neighbouring properties either don’t allow dogs or have very good dog control. We have been trapping for stoats down Campbell road for the past few years so they have chosen a good place to raise chicks. Both Mokopuna and Wally have newly fitted radio transmitters so watch out for more of their story.


Wally 2018


Here’s  Mokopuna cruising off after having her transmitter fitted to get back to Wally. Wally is Lambert’s brother from George’s nest in 2006. The Lamberts would be pleased to know that kiwi from bush they looked after years ago are making a contribution to kiwi population in new areas.

Backyard Kiwi Predator Control Programme :
Catches for August  in the predator traps:
Stoats 1, Weasels 0, Cats 1, Rats 51, Hedgehogs 2 and 10 possums. I have changed over to salted rabbit (and hare because rabbits are in short supply) for the start of the new stoat season.

Controlled 1080 pulse in bait stations

Martin and his team have been covering the miles (and the heights) on Manaia pulsing 1080 in the bait stations there.  This will be dealing to a far bigger number of pests than the list above!  Even the best trapping systems do not catch all the stoats and in fact get less effective overtime, with more and more untrappable stoats surviving. This is why a controlled pulse of a toxin that will eliminate trap shy stoats through secondary poisoning is crucial.  1080 is by far the most effective and safest toxin to use for this.  It is very heartening to see that Iwi and Doc are working together to treat the Russell forest and other areas with 1080 at the moment too- it will make a huge positive difference there.

What your radio tracked Backyard Kiwi have been up to:

The chicks are starting to hatch..

  • Darwin–At Lamb road, Nesting in a hollow puriri tree in the bush just south of the quarry. His nightly activity was 2.5 hours per night at day 41 of nesting which is good. Hatch is due late September.
  •  Lambert – In pampas by main track on Taurikura ridge. His data stream shows that he has hatched his first chick and I am now waiting for his activity to increase before checking his nest.
  • Whitu – Usual area at freezing works ruins at Reotahi. His nest went for 89 days before he gave up on it.  The first egg was infertile and had gone rotten possibly infecting the second egg which had a well-developed but dead chick in it. The pampas bush he was nesting in was old and rotting so wasn’t as weather proof as the usual pampas nests.
  • EB–In pampas at Kerr rd. Activity still high at 11.5 hours. Logging has finished in the nearby pines – all went well for the kiwi.
  • Pakipaki– Back in the pampas by the Manaia club again. Activity mainly high.
  • JJ2– Her temporary transmitter fell off as planned. She is well settled in the scrub between Kerr Road and Rarangi Heights.

Recent Releases

These guys are all settled for the time being:.

  • Ross – He has spent the last 3 months in the area just inland from Solomon’s point, opposite the boat ramp- activity still high – 13 hours per night.
  • Harikoa–In a hollow log in a wetland in the Ross’s pines at Taraunui rd. I did her 3 monthly transmitter band change (she is young and still growing –almost 2 years old now). She was a healthy 2150g and bill of 118.4mm (compared with 1630g and 106mm at release). Pics attached
  • Maia–this is the young girl released in May. She has settled in the pines and bush at the Ross’s near where we released her..
  • Mokopuna  and Wally –  see their story above.  This is a classic BYK kiwi story!

ONE program (funded by Kiwis for Kiwi):
Rewarewa :Nesting is well underway for most of these guys too and I’m due to visit shortly.

Other happenings:

Upcoming Kiwi Event for Kiwi Link area

“Kiwi Link” involves 10 groups doing kiwi recovery work covering the landscape between the Whangarei Heads and Tutukaka kiwi strong holds. On Sunday September 9 the Whareora Landcare group is hosting a meet a kiwi event as part of the Kiwi Link.  These kiwi will come from our combined ONE work and will be transferred from Limestone Island and released in the Pataua North LC area after the public event. See for details.

Also as part of the Kiwi Coast I did a trapper training session with Emma Craig’s North Tech class – it was great to see these enthusiastic and capable folks enjoying getting hands on upskilling in predator trapping.


Todd Hamilton

Backyard Kiwi Project Manager

Whangarei Heads Landcare Forum

M 021 1145 385

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