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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 10th, 2021

2021 April Report

Whangarei Heads Landcare Forum AGM Wednesday May 19 at McLeod Bay Hall

A reminder about the AGM in a couple of weeks.

Please come along and invite any other interested locals.  WHLF is a crucial platform for the many Landcare groups and individuals at the Whangarei Heads and it enables much of the positive work being done to happen. It would be great if a representative of each local group could give a brief update of what their group has been up to this year.

Kiwi Counting

Each year we work hard to estimate our kiwi population using 20 listening stations to see if our stoat and dog control at the Heads is working.  See past results Annual Kiwi Call Count  

It was great to have 22 keen kiwi call counters at the recent refresher/training night. Melissa and Peter were fantastic hosts providing a great training facility, generously feeding us hot soup and plenty of calling kiwi to get our ears tuned- THANK YOU.  Also thanks to all the kiwi counters for sharpening up their recording skills. Wendy from Kiwi Coast spent time going through the Kiwi Coast listen App which some folks will find easier to record the call data in – thanks Wendy and Ngaire.  It is still fine to use the traditional paper recording and we definitely still want the directional sheet filled in please. Now we need some good calm weather and low surf noise for the official listening period starting May 29.

Listen to your Backyard Kiwi

Without having the recording hassles and enduring the 8 cold hours of official call counting now is the time to have a listen to your kiwi in your backyard. The breeding season is  underway and they should be calling hard.  When it suits you, have a quiet listen for a short spell at your place. Just sit down with a drink of your choice and listen out. With a bit of practice you can get a reasonable idea of where your local breeding pairs are located.


Kiwi kills

There will be one less adult male calling at Rarangi Heights. The wild male kiwi was found freshly dead on a driveway (see pic) and had injuries that may be from a dog. He has been sent to Massey University for autopsy and testing for dog DNA.   DoC and Dog control have been visiting dog owners in the area.  Thanks to good control dog by most dog owners kills of kiwi at the Heads a way down on the bad old days but any uncontrolled dog can quickly kill so we can’t be complacent.

Unfortunately when checking the ONE dads at Rewarewa this week I found the monitored male Moeahu dead. His chest and neck had been eaten but it will take an autopsy to indicate if this was before or after death, and what did it.  Ferrets are capable of killing adult kiwi and have been a major blow to some recovering kiwi populations further south so he will be carefully checked for any sign of that. We are always on the lookout for ferrets and have plenty of traps in our network set them. There are still a few ferrets about in Northland, particularly inland from Whangarei.  After catching plenty at the Heads back in the early 2000s I have only caught 2 since – in 2011 and 2016- but we are always trapping for them!

Backyard Kiwi Predator Control Program :

Catches for March – still very quiet stoat wise as expected for this time of season : 1 stoat, 2 weasels, 3 cats, 88 rats, 21 hedgehogs, 1 possum.

Released Kiwi

The kiwi released at Parua Bay back in February have settled in well and the temporary radio transmitters have been falling off (as planned):

  • Chookie – This is the adult male and he has still stayed very close to his release in the centre of Martins’ block east of Owhiwa road.  His nightly activity is 12.5 hours. Hopefully he is feeding up for breeding. We plan to monitor Chookie long term.
  • Aroha – The adult female released with Chookie. She spent some time hanging with Chookie before heading 500m south and settling in the pines there. She has dropped her temporary radio transmitter.
  • Matarae- – She moved short distances up and down the valley checking things out before heading West to Kohinui Valley.  She has found a good safe, steep gut of native bush there. Nightly activity of 11 hours before her temporary transmitter fell off.
  • Valentine – She has spent most of her time at the northern end of the Martins’ block.  I caught up with her on 9/4/21 and renewed her transmitter band to continue monitoring her as she was close to logging operations on the neighbouring property. She had increased from her release weight of 1900g to 2200g so is looking good (see pic). Later in the month I lost her signal and have begun searching wider to see where she has headed off to.
  • Cook- After her long distance explorations last month and turning up back at her release area she has remained close to there this month.


Ross & Jack

What your kiwi have been up to:

With the breeding season underway kiwi will be feeding up and be in far better condition than this time last year.

Whangarei Heads radio tracked Kiwi.

  • Ross – In the valley at the top of Pepi Road.  This guy is tricky to catch up with plenty of hidey holes and pampas patches to hide in so it took a couple of goes until Jack gave me a hand and we were lucky enough to get him in a shallow burrow.  We did his annual transmitter change. He was a fat 2350g and really needs to find a girl (see pic). Matarae is now in kohinui valley to his east so they might be close enough to hear each other call.
  • Teina – He has moved to the east of his normal area, within a few 100m of Beach Girl. Nightly activity of 12 hours.
  • Malaika –  Still hanging in the valley of native bush just west of Owhiwa rd on Martins’ block. 11 hours activity. Chookie not far away.
  • Beach Girl – she moved out of the area being logged on Ross road to the NE end of the Martins’ block. I renewed her transmitter band while she was handy to get in the rank kikuya beside the track there. She is 2550g in weight now compared to the extremely poor 1600g she was this time last year when she was rescued for her drought stricken island.
  • Wally – Rolf and I caught up with him in his network of tunnels in the rushes on the estuary edge at the end of Campbell rd. He was 2050g in weight and has a new transmitter. 11.5 hours activity.
  • Harikoa – She has spent the last 2 years well settled in the pines and wetland area at the NE end of Campbell Road so have let her transmitter drop off.
  • Pakipaki – In the pampas in the Horse paddock McLeod Bay. Jo and I tried to reach her in her pampas warren but couldn’t get her. 11.5 hours activity


Rarewarewa/Purua- ONE Dads

With the breeding season starting I have been changing over to new transmitters for the year. Good to have Ayla from Doc along to give me a hand and for her to get signed off as an Accredited Kiwi Handler on tx changes.

  • Nick – In the kikuya and flaxes by the quarry dam. Ayla did tx change. 2500g and excellent condition. 12.5 hours activity.
  • Moeahu – found dead.
  • Sancho – In Lovells Bush, in burrow with female (not handled). Did his tx change, 2100g and Good condition.  11.5 hours nightly activity.
  • Kimposter-  Usual area above the quarry.  11.5 hrs nightly activity.
  • Ngutu roa – In burrow west of old slip. With female (not handled). Tx changed. 2200g MG condition. 12.5 hours activity.
  • Ngaro –  Usual area above the air strip. Tx changed. 2150g MG condition. Female in burrow not handled. 12.5 hours activity.   .
  • Moondust  – In gut 50m in reserve behind Irvine road woolshed. 11.5 hours activity. Ayla did tx change (see pic). 2200 MG. Julia will now monitor him as an engagement kiwi for the Purua School and wider community.
  • Gorgeous- Usual area in paddock south side of Hawkins’ hill. 11 hours activity.
  • Bill  – In the paddock north of the logged area. 12 hours activity.
  • Cliff – In Lovells bush south of logged area. 11.5 hours activity.
  • Namakia – Near rapuo pond east end of the logged area. 11 hours activity.

Moondust and Ayla

Robert at the WNBRC successfully hatched a kiwi egg brought in by Julia from the Lovells’ logged area. He was named “Bandy” and we transferred him to Limestone at Easter giving a total of 11 chicks transferred this season, a good result considering the dry conditions.


Tutukaka Landcare Kiwi release

On Sunday 10 April (after postponing due to heavy rain) we transferred 4 kiwi from Limestone to the Tutukaka coast.  The public release and FOMLI Whakawatea were very successful with over 350 locals in total being engaged with their kiwi. This engagement is crucial in locals giving their support to better dog control, trapping and Kiwi Saver (1080) pulses. The kiwi are being monitored by TLC and have settled in well.


Upcoming Events:


  • Rural Delivery TV program featuring Kiwi Coast and Backyard Kiwi – Saturday May 8 @ 7am or on demand
  • WH High Value Area – 6 monthly meeting May 12 @ 7pm
  • WHLF AGM –May 19 @ 7.30pm
  • Kiwi Counting – May 29-June18


Cheers Todd



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