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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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March 15th, 2021

2021 February Report

WHLF Backyard Kiwi February 2021 report – Thanks to the NRC, Kiwi Coast, Kiwis for Kiwi and our Proud Supporters

BYK Kiwi Release 

…went ahead in spite of the rain at Parua Bay Community Centre

 Speaker, Danny Tuato’o – Chair Person Whangarei Heads Landcare Forum

Thank you to all the folks that came along to the recent kiwi release at Parua Bay.  The release went well despite the rain in the afternoon and the surprise announcement of the covid Lockdown to start the next day. 90 people were at the FOMLI whakawaatea on the Onerahi foreshore and 250 at the welcome in the Parua Bay hall dodging the rain. Because of the weather we didn’t release the kiwi with the public as we usually do, but everyone got a good chance to meet their new kiwi at the Community Centre.  The five transferred kiwi (see details below) had a safe and gentle landing in the valley between Owhiwa and Taraunui Roads.  They made the most of the wetter conditions for feeding and tucked up in pampas bushes during the day to keep warm and dry.  Regular checking has shown some movement but all 5 are still in the valley. Chookie gave me a scare when after a week he climbed way up to be beside Owhiwa road but he has since worked his way back down to near the release site and his mate Aroha. From the kiwi’s point of view the timing of the release was perfect (we had 98 mm of rain in Feb 2021 compared with just 8.6 mm last year!).

Released Kiwi (see attached pics too):

Cook with Ann Cook an Todd Hamilton

Chookie with Ngaire O’Sullivan and Pat

Matarae and Billie Hamilton

Valentine and Jack Hamilton

  • Cook – 4 year old female named after Neil Cook who was the driving force behind Owhiwa Landcare.
  • Chookie– 5 year old male named after Chook Martin. The Martins’ large block between Owhiwa Road and Taraunui Road has been a key part of the “Kiwi Link” area. It has an extensive stoat trapping network and good dog control.
  • Aroha– 9 year old female who was found on with the male Chookie.
  • Matarae– a 6 year old female named by an ongoing Backyard Kiwi proud supporter. The name is an old family one.
  • Valentine – This is an adult female that didn’t have an ID chip when we caught her on Limestone so is an island bred kiwi.  The others come from our transfer program where we move kiwi chicks from the Purua/Rarewarewa/Riponui area to grow them up on Limestone. She was named by FOMLI (the fantastic community group who manage Limestone/Matakohe Island) in hounor of it being Valentine’s Day.

Thank you to Ngati Hine, DoC and the landowners where these kiwi come from for the gift of the kiwi, they will be treasured!

Backyard Kiwi Predator Control Program :

The Manaia Kiwi Saver (1080) bait station pulse has meant no stoat catches in that area.

Catches for February: 1 stoat, 2 weasels, 1 cat, 47 rats, 9 hedgehogs, 11 possums.

What your kiwi have been up to:

The very dry summer has made it hard for young kiwi outside the wetter areas but some kiwi have successfully bred. Some of those chicks have made it through the dry summer and the highest stoat risk period (up until they grow to around 1000g). Unfortunately one of those chicks wandered across the road in the McLeod Bay village on a recent rainy night and was run over – she was just short of the magic 1000g !  At least it shows good stoat control.

Whangarei Heads radio tracked Kiwi.

  • Ross– He has headed back to his old area in the valley west of Pepi Road. Still no sign of nesting with 11 hours nightly activity.
  • Teina– I don’t know who is the bigger fool, me or him? I have been carefully monitoring his nesting behaviour and even went in to weatherproof his “trap door” nest entrance in the recent rain but kept patiently waiting for an increase in activity before checking the nest. At 97 days (hatch is usually around 70-75 days) his data stream showed an increase in activity (up to 4 hrs from 2 hrs) so thought I would risk a look expecting dud eggs as it was his first nest. I carefully checked under him and found an egg sized rock – warm and worn smooth in places! I suppose it shows that he is a keen nester but a bit of a laugh when I have been talking up the historic importance of this first recorded nest in the area for decades- by this Rock star kiwi! Despite nesting hard on the rock he was still in good condition and 2100g, we took the opportunity to do his transmitter change too (see pic).
  • Malaika– She is happy in the pampas in the Owhiwa Road pine block, she is moving around a bit but nothing like her previous long distance walks.
  • Beach Girl – Still NW of Ross Road, nightly activity of 10 hours. Now that the nearby logging is winding up she may settle down again.
  • Wally– After his back to back nesting effort he has retreated to the Pataua estuary edge to recover.
  • Harikoa– In her usual area of wetland/pines at the NE end of Campbell Road. 11.5 hours activity.
  • Pakipaki – In the pampas in the Horse paddock McLeod Bay. 9.5 hours activity


Rarewarewa/Purua – ONE Dads

10  chicks transferred to date. 1 this month. That is probably it for the season and is  well below our 15 chick annual average because of the dry conditions. It is great to have the rain for them now.

  • Nick– Nested in his usual area in Lovells’ Bush. He hatched the first chick (LC2011) after 74 days nesting. Transferred the chick 14 days later, the second egg was partially developed but very rotten.
  • Moeahu– Has stayed back at NE end of reserve – still no sign of nesting. 9 hours activity.
  • Sancho– Feeding up after nesting in NE reserve area. 10 hours nightly activity.
  • Kimposter –  Usual area above the quarry. 10 hrs nightly activity.
  • Ngutu roa – Usual area SW reserve. 10 hours activity.
  • Ngaro– Usual area above the air strip. 10 hrs activity.   .
  • Moondust– Usual spot behind the Irvine road wool shed. 10 hours activity.
  • Gorgeous – His 2nd (or 3rd nest depending if he stopped in the middle of incubating) failed- two very rotten eggs. He had moved to the edge of the paddock and bush and was deep down a tomo. 9.5 hours nightly activity. Not a good year for this fella – his 1st nest was flooded in the July flood, the next nest in the paddock suffered from the drought. I hope that he can feed up this autumn and get into nesting next season.
  • We have 3 new potential kiwi dads that I recently transmitted after they were monitored for a logging operation at the Lovells.  They have all settled back down after the logging and should be starting to feed up for the breeding season in autumn.


Northland Kiwi Forum

The Northland Kiwi Forum working group met recently (this group represents agencies, community groups and others involved in Northland Kiwi recovery work) and has begun the task of reviewing the Northland Kiwi Taxon Plan. The original Plan was written in 2009 and needs updating. If you are interested have a look and let us know your thoughts.

Upcoming Kiwi Releases:

Tutukaka Landcare – Saturday April 10,   4.30pm at Tawapou Nurseries Matapouri

Taheke Landcare – Saturday April 17


Cheers Todd

Todd Hamilton

Backyard Kiwi Project Manager

Whangarei Heads Landcare Forum


M 021 1145 385



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