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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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April 4th, 2018

2018 – March update

It was great to see so many locals at our recent kiwi release at the Ross property behind the Parua Bay community centre.

  100’s attend Parua Bay Kiwi release

Jennifer Ross speaks at the kiwi release

Thanks to the Ross family for hosting us all. Over 350 people got to see their 4 new kiwi up close and hear about what we are doing as a community to help our kiwi population thrive – that is trapping stoats to protect our kiwi chicks and controlling our dogs to prevent adult deaths.  Thank you to all those hard working people that helped organise and run the release – it was a big team effort, particularly with the dodgy weather.  The kiwi were a male named Ross and 3 females named Rukuwai, Harikoa and Mokopuna. All are fitted with radio transmitters and you can follow their progress at our website. The released kiwi come from our Kiwis for Kiwi ONE programme that utilises Limestone Island as a crèche to grow up chicks transferred there before releasing them into community areas with extensive predator trapping networks. The release was a very special day for the FOMLI team that manage Limestone Island as Mokopuna was the 150th kiwi to come through the crèche. A special ceremony was held at Onerahi during the transfer and we were honoured to receive this milestone kiwi into our area.

The four released kiwi have been making themselves at home and locals report plenty of extra calling coming from the existing kiwi in the area (including the monitored Darwin)- just letting them know who’s the boss. After having a calling comp with Darwin, Ross has moved north down Taraunui road almost to Ross road (maybe he can read?). Harikoa has been the most stable and has settled into the raupo and pines about 1 km down Taraunui road. Rukuwai must have got sick of the Parua Bay boys because she has legged it 6 km to Kauri Mountain to join the gang there. Mokopuna was in the pines between Lamb road and Taraunui road but has now moved off and must be tucked into a gut somewhere at the moment because I haven’t heard her radio signal for a few days. These kiwi don’t seem to have any problem crossing the various creeks in the area.

Backyard Kiwi Predator Control Programme:

Catches for March  in the predator traps:

Stoats 0, Weasels 3, Cats 1, Rats 87, Hedgehogs 14 and 7 possums.

The usual autumn drop off in stoat catches is expected as stoats have finished their dispersal season.

Kiwi Call Count

For all those dedicated kiwi call count listeners it is almost time to get organised, sharpen up your hearing and data recording skills, and find some warm gear. First period is 2 June -20 June, backup 1 July-20 July (only if absolutely needed).  With all the rain this autumn it could well be an early breeding season (there are plenty of kiwi calling hard already) so we need to be ready to get listening.  I will send out the usual email with detailed instructions next month – please let me know if you are unavailable asap so we can find and train up any replacement listeners.  Because the official national  listening period is a bit later this year (because of moon phases) and our peak calling may be over by then I plan to put out 4 electronic listening devices in May and again in the listening period for a comparison.

Even if you are not part of the official kiwi count it is still a great time of year to spend some time in the evening on your deck to check out where the kiwi are calling from so that you have an idea of who is in your backyard and where. If in doubt check out listen to a male and female kiwi calling

The NRC Long Term Plan is up for feedback, take a look at the long term plan 

The NRC are a crucial supporter of WHLF Backyard Kiwi.  BYK and Weed Action Whangarei Heads currently receive funding through a local targeted rate of $50 per year that is administered by the NRC.  This funding covers much of our kiwi predator trapping costs and kiwi monitoring, it does not cover work on crown land or rat and possum control .  This model has been very successful and is an efficient and effective way to fund our local work. The Whangarei Heads model of funding was going to be proposed for other areas of Northland but has now been changed to a proposed general Northland wide increase in the pest management rate in the LTP..

At the Whangarei Heads the NRC is now proposing a removal of the local targeted rate and replacing it with a region wide pest management rate. We have been assured by NRC staff and councilors that funding for kiwi recovery work and weed control co-ordination will continue for the next 3 years if either the targeted rate is retained or the proposed change is supported.  We have stressed that rate payers should not be charged twice so that is either one or other of the rating charges NOT both.

The NRC are marketing the increased general rate as part of “Pest Free Northland” which could cause us problems with local rate payers expectations – because implying that all animal and weed pests can be eliminated on the current budget is misleading. If we are to even control rats, possums and weeds at the Heads we are going to need considerable more funding.

Feedback on the LTP closes Tuesday April 17.  If folks are happy for me to do so I will give feedback from BYK on these issues:

Outline the success for the community driven BYK work at Whangarei Heads.

The current Whangarei Heads targeted rate for kiwi recovery and weed co-ordination has been significant in the continuation of that community driven work. The system is efficient, effective and accountable, it ensures all the rates raised in the area are used for the specified work within that area.

Strongly support a continuation of this funding.

If the NRC introduce an increase to the general pest management at the Whangarei Heads then this should be instead of the targeted rate not as well as.

If additional rat, possum and weed control are expected then additional appropriate funding will be needed.

Support the NRC funding of the Kiwi Coast co-ordination to enable community  groups to carry out kiwi recovery work.

Replace the term “Pest Free Northland”  with more appropriate “pest control”.

If you can, please give your own feedback too.


Other Happenings

Film crew recording the kiwi release

Capturing a unique kiwi moment


  • Lodged Kiwis for kiwi funding application.  We are once again applying to the this long-time funder of our combined ONE programme (BHCT, BYK, PNLC, TCPCA, TLC) for funds to continue the work for the next 3 years.
  • Wild Kiwi multisport event 14 April– good luck to all those keen folks.
  • Heather, Martin, Helen and I have been invited to Wild Dunedin – NZ Festival of Nature  k. Locals groups have funded our flights and will host us so that we can be part the event doing a range of things about BYK and community work.
  • Heather has the film crew back for a busy 3 days of filming

Another road kill and a dog attack

The 5th road kill in 12 months was a large adult female at the usual spot north of McLeod Bay in the high speed area. Once again she was wild hatched bird who was of good breed age. Her weight was 2700g and her big bill was 146mm long.

Another wild female – this one not fully grown so only a year or two old turned up near the road at Kerr Road.  She had a puncture wound in on her rear and was unable to move – probably from a dog. Kamo vets stitched her up and she is currently recuperating with Robert Webb at the WNBRC. Local dog control on this stretch of road has been good lately but I’m visiting folks again.

What your radio tracked Backyard Kiwi have been up to:

  • Darwin – As noted already this old man has moved from the quarry to the edge of Lamb road opposite to where Ross the released male had settled for a while – probably to exert his claim for the territory.
  • Lambert – Usual area at Taurikura Ridge. Activity a high 11.5 hours per night.
  • Whitu– Usual area at freezing works ruins at Reotahi, activity is dropping at 9 hours per night.
  • EB – In the pampas at Kerr road. 11 hours activity.
  • Pakipaki – Still in the horse paddock in McLeod Bay. Activity is high.



Todd Hamilton

Backyard Kiwi Project Manager

Whangarei Heads Landcare Forum

M 021 1145 385




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