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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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May 8th, 2020

2020 April Update

Lockdown update

I hope that everyone is well and is coping with the lockdown – things are improving and we are winning!  After a month of no trapping and kiwi monitoring I have been flat out trying to catch up since we got to Level 3 – with appropriate Level 3 protocols.  Until we get to Level 2 I am still keeping minimum contact with others so please don’t be offended if I do not stop for a chat.  The traps are badly in need of servicing and re-luring but at least it is not peak stoat season.  More of an issue has been trying to catch up with wandering kiwi after such an extended break from tracking them. I am still yet to get any signals from Kaitiaki and Jemima and have been searching wider and wider for them – both transmitters are about to fall off. Taonga’s transmitter did fall off during Level 4. The signals from all the others show that they are safe and well but still working long hours to find a feed in the extremely dry conditions that continue be a concern (see details below).

Upcoming  Meetings

The WHLF AGM is due in May but we are waiting to see if and when we get to Level 2 before setting a date in the hope that we can have an actual meeting, otherwise we will have the meeting electronically if needed. We will send out a meeting notice to comply with any constitutional requirements taking into account the Covid-19 virus mandatory isolation requirements and restrictions on movements when we have more information.

The Whangarei Heads High Value Area committee is meeting next week. This meeting includes the approval of proposed budgets for work done by BYK and WH Weed Action in the 2020/2021 year so if it is unable to be physically held it will be carried out electronically.

Edwin Smith at Tanekaha

Kiwi Allen, with Edwin Smith

Kiwi Releases

Unfortunately we had to cancel the planned public kiwi releases for  Tanekaha and Pataua North LC. Because we already had the 5 kiwi transmitted and needing to be transferred we moved them with minimum contact under strict Level 3 protocols.  We released 2 kiwi at Tanekaha and 3 at Pataua North. Thanks to all those that worked hard to enable this to happen safely for both kiwi and people (see photo of Edwin Smith with kiwi “Allan” at Tanekaha). The kiwi have all been monitored and have settled in well to their new homes.

Kiwi Counting 

We are still planning to carry out the formal  kiwi listening survey from most of our 20 stations under Level 3 –  with strict protocols to keep folks safe. Thanks to all those hard working kiwi listeners that will be out there in the cold doing a job which is a lot more demanding than you would think.  This annual survey during the breeding season is the best way we have to measure the long term effectiveness of our kiwi recovery and to date it has shown the huge success of the work with 80 kiwi counted in 2001 and over 900 in 2018. With the extremely dry conditions last season and the lack of kiwi tucker available kiwi calls were fewer than usual for 2019 and conditions are even drier this year, so the kiwi may not be that keen on breeding this year either – time will tell. We still need some decent bloody rain!!!

want to learn more about how we do our kiwi listening go to beginners-guide-to-kiwi-listening 

Backyard Kiwi Predator Control Program :

I only got 2 days trapping in for April because of Lockdown:

April predator trap catches:  Stoat 1, Weasels 2, Cats 0, Rats 33, Hedgehogs 3 and 2 possums.

What your radio tracked Backyard Kiwi have been up to:

With the ongoing dry conditions the younger kiwi are still on the move and the older ones are not showing any sign of nesting.  The crickets in the farm paddocks seem to be a draw card for feeding kiwi with heaps of kiwi poo in paddocks at the moment (see photo above of unknown kiwi roosting in tree stump on a paddock’s edge):

Kaitiaki – After moving to the pines east of Owhiwa road before lockdown I have been unable to find her. Her transmitter band is due to wear through. I will keep looking.

Jemima – Likewise I keep searching for this young girl down Taraunui road and wider but can’t find her – she may have headed for PNLC country so they are having a listen out there for her.

Hancock – During lockdown she moved even further west and is now at the top end of Kohinui Valley, between Owhiwa and Te Rongo Roads. Her nightly activity is 12 hours.

Taonga  – This girl was released at Parua Bay back in February and had moved west to Kerry Martin’s pine block near to the male kiwi Teina.  Her transmitter was only attached with a temporary band so we could monitor her for a month or so to see where she settled. During lockdown the band wore through and she dropped her transmitter. Hopefully she will stay in the pine block as it has a good predator trapping network and a no dogs policy.

Darwin – Still no signal since 4/12/19, looking like transmitter failure.

Whitu – He is in the small wetland near the freezing works, Reotahi, with 10.5 hours nightly activity.

EB – In the pampas on the edge of the milled pine block, Kerr road. Activity 12 hours.

Pakipaki – Back in the in the pampas in the horse paddock at McLeod Bay, 11 hours activity.

Ross  – At the top end of Pepi road. Activity 12 hours.

Teina – He is well settled in the young pine block east of Owhiwa road, 12 hours nightly activity. Hopefully he is starting to think about breeding – Taonga was nearby when she dropped her transmitter.

Malaika –  This young girl has also made her way to Kerry Martin’s pine block – this place is becoming the place to be for kiwi! She has taken over a year to work her way there and may have headed there because of the other kiwi calling. Her nightly activity is 12.5 hours.

Harikoa – Still in the wetland  at the NE end of Campbell road, 12 hours activity.

Wally – In his usual area in the rushes on the Pataua estuary edge at the northern end of Campbell Road. 12 hours activity

Awhi – After 8 months settled in wetland/pines east of Campbell rd and near to Harikoa she moved to the very end of Campbell road down near the Pataua estuary just before lockdown. She has stayed there for over a month now to the delight of the landowners there. Her activity is 10.5 hours.


These are the ONE dads who should be feeding up before nesting – Julia from Doc lives near these guys and has been able to monitor them from her bubble during lockdown: They are all still showing high activity so nesting looks to be delayed.

Take care and keep safe, hopefully we will be back to more normal times soon.

Cheers Todd

M 021 1145 385




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