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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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June 8th, 2021

2021 May Report

May was a very busy month with plenty happening in Kiwi Recovery locally and wider.


Thanks to all those that came to our AGM and it was fantastic to hear from the 9 Landcare groups represented there and of all the good work being done by our community in their backyard. Congratulations to Danny, Helen and Audrey on their re-election as Chair, Secretary and Treasurer, thanks for their ongoing work. One issue that groups asked to be investigated is the possibility of better wasp control. Key Industries have a new wasp control product that we are looking at and if suitable will seek funding for a supply of it for local groups.

Whangarei Heads High Value Area

The WHHVA working group met to consider the proposed budgets for Backyard Kiwi and Weed Action Whangarei Heads for 2021-2022. Thank you to the NRC for their ongoing funding of our community work.

Kane McElrea has been a big part of the NRC’s support of WHLF and many other community groups for the past decade. He is moving on to work in private consultation – he will still be local. Thank you Kane for all that you have done and we wish you well.

Kiwi Counting 

The official annual Kiwi count by our dedicated listeners is underway (May 29-June18) with reasonably calm weather this week helping.  With the much better rainfall this year kiwi have been calling hard so now is a good time to listen out in your own backyard if you want to hear where your kiwi are.

Northland Pest Control Wānanga

Thanks to Kiwi Coast (especially Ngaire Sullivan) for running this event with the support of the NRC and hosted by Ngati Rehia at the Whitiora Marae.  180 pest controllers got together to hear about what’s new in pest control and reports on the huge community effort throughout Northland.  The presentations will be up on the Kiwi Coast website at some stage.

Kiwi Kills

The pathology report from Massey University confirmed that the kiwi killed at Rarangi Heights last month was a dog kill. DoC and dog control are continuing their investigation into the death.

Unfortunately we had two road-killed kiwi this month – one on Nook Road and one in the usual hotspot on Whangārei Heads Road north of McLeod Bay (see pic). Both kiwi were adults that did not have an ID chip so had hatched and grown locally to reach breeding age – indicating the success of stoat and dog control.  With the long nights and high kiwi activity this time of year the exposure of kiwi to traffic is significantly increased so please slow down and keep a look out for your kiwi – most have terrible road sense. Thanks to Amy McDonald for her local publicity around the dead kiwi that she found. Ayla Wiles from DoC also promoted kiwi road safety for wider Northland in the Advocate recently as road deaths are becoming a problem in other areas too.

On the brighter side a young kiwi chick was seen happily walking down a Te Rongo Road driveway last week, showing that there must be a successful breeding pair nearby – probably kiwi who have moved inland from the Heads and survived the road trip. So some do get through!

Little Spotted Kiwi

A DoC team lead by Hugh Robertson surveyed the Little Spotted Kiwi population on Taranga/Hen Island in May – they were very lucky to have the calm weather of early May to work in and got ashore before the huge easterly swell arrived.  It will be interesting to see how the population is going, particularly with the recent drought years.

Backyard Kiwi Predator Control Program:

Catches for May – still very quiet stoat wise as expected for this time of season : 0 stoat, 2 weasels, 1 cat, 69 rats, 10 hedgehogs, 2 possums.

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 11.5 hours. Hopefully he is busy breeding.
  • Valentine – After losing touch with her signal last month she has turned up on the Plants’ block off Taruanui Road – a good safe dog free block. 12 hours nightly activity.
  • Cook- After her long distance wanderings in March and returning back to the release area she has remained there.  It is a good safe place for her to settle so I removed her transmitter. Activity was 12.5 hours,131.2 mm bill, 2350g and Good body condition. She was in rank kikuya in the block of young pines.  She should have 50 years of life ahead of her there.




What your kiwi have been up to:

The breeding season is underway. With reasonable ground moisture levels and food availability this autumn the kiwi should be mating and the females developing eggs for laying.  I’m monitoring the dads’ activities with interest to see when nesting starts.

Whangarei Heads radio tracked Kiwi.

  • Ross – In the valley at the top of Pepi Road.  11.5 hours nightly activity.
  • Teina – In his usual area in the northern area of Martins’ Owhiwa Road forestry block. Nightly activity of 11.5 hours average with the odd lower night – I hope that he hasn’t found another rock to incubate.
  • Malaika – Still hanging in the valley of native bush just west of Owhiwa rd on Martins’ block. Down to 7 hours activity. Chookie not far away.
  • Beach Girl – she seems settled between Ross Road and Owhiwa Road and is very busy with 13 hours nightly activity.
  • Wally – Usual area at the end of Campbell Road. 11.5 hours activity.
  • Pakipaki – In a pampas filled drain, in the Johnsons’ paddock McLeod Bay. 10.5 hours activity. I did her 6 monthly band change. She was in reasonable conditions but no sign of a mate with her.

Rarewarewa/Purua- ONE Dads

I checked these guys in early May so some of them may have reduced activity by now and be starting to nest.

  • Nick – Usual area Lovells’ bush. 11.5 hours activity.
  • Moeahu – found dead last month – pathology report came back inconclusive as the damage to the chest may have been after death from scavengers. No puncture wounds to the skull but the possibility of a ferret cannot be ruled out.
  • Sancho – In Lovells’ Bush.  11.5 hours nightly activity.
  • Kimposter – Usual area above the quarry.  11 hours 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 – DoC monitoring now.
  • Gorgeous – Usual area in paddock south side of Hawkins’ Hill. 11 hours activity.
  • Bill – In paddock north of the logged area. Lowish activity 9 hours activity.
  • Cliff – In Lovells bush south of logged area. 11 hours activity.
  • Namakia – Near rapuo pond east end of logged area. 12 hours activity.

Upcoming Events:

The National Kiwi Hui July 14-16 

This Kiwis for Kiwi and DoC run event is at Te Teko, Eastern BOP this year. These hui are always a great opportunity to catch up with Kiwi folk from around NZ and hear what is going on. Check out the Kiwis for Kiwi website to register –

Hopefully we can car pool or get a van from Northland for those going down.

Cheers Todd

Todd Hamilton

Backyard Kiwi Project Manager

Whangarei Heads Landcare Forum

M 021 1145 385



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