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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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Ross introduced us to Pepi, in November 2021 Todd found Ross cuddled up in a pampas bush with another kiwi and caught it.  The kiwi did not have an ID chip so was a wild hatched and grown kiwi. The kiwi was in excellent condition, weighed 2300g and had a bill length of 104mm. Todd inserted an ID chip and put a transmitter on this new kiwi.  Was it a boy or a girl???

Adult females have bills over 120mm and boys usually well less. The kiwi could be an adult male (our suspicion) or a still growing female. We named it Pepi and kept an eye on things.  It is extremely rare for two male adults to be together so this all caused a bit of a stir in the kiwi world. 6 months later it was time for Pepi’s transmitter band change and check – and he had thinned down to 2000g over the summer but more importantly his bill was still 104mm – confirming that he was a boy! !


June 2023

After finally getting a signal from him last month he promptly dropped his transmitter in a patch of pampas on the ridge up behind Waikaraka. This is the furthest west that we have ever tracked a kiwi so it is a bugger to lose touch with him. Over the 18 months of following him (since finding him with Ross at Pepi road) he has covered a fair bit of ground, presumably looking for a mate in this very low kiwi area. He has brought me into contact with heaps of landowners who have been excited by the knowledge that kiwi are working their way back into their area since they disappeared in the 1980s (when the local ferret farmer released his ferrets).

May 2023

Found him! Over 2 months since his last signal I found him well north of Pepi Road – now at the end of Te Rongo Road. Can also get a signal from the back of Waikaraka looking east. Locals are very excited to have him there and I’m very pleased to track him down, it has taken plenty of miles with repetitive, careful searching. Keeping regular tabs on him now in case he moves on again to reduce the search area.. 10 hours of activity.

April 2023

Still can’t find this fella.  Reports of kiwi calling nearby but no radio signal yet.

March 2023

Once again this guy has given me the slip. After much searching I haven’t been able to find him after his reappearance last month – very frustrating but I am meeting more locals in my search getting wider and wider around Pepi Road. Reports of kiwi calling but no radio signal yet.

February 2023

After much searching found this guy back up at the top of Pepi Road and he has since wandered back down to the valley inland from the Parua Bay boat ramp. 8.5 hours activity.

January 2023

Has done a bit of moving around including heading to the east into the valley opposite the Parua Bay boat ramp where Ross spent time back in 2018. 9.5 hours nightly activity.


December 2022

After visiting the bush opposite the Parua Bay boat ramp he has been cruising around the Pepi road area making radio monitoring tricky for me. I did get to catch up with him for his annual transmitter change when he was in a pampas bush on the side of a driveway. He was a FAT 2600g This guy definitely needs to find a mate (other than his boyfriend Ross) and shed some weight by nesting. 

November 2022

Has done a bit of moving around including heading to the east into the valley opposite the Parua Bay boat ramp where Ross spent time back in 2018. 9.5 hours nightly activity.

October 2022

Has stayed back up at the top end of Pepi Road, 11.5 hours nightly activity.

September 2022

He has headed back up to the top end of Pepi Road, 8.5 hours nightly activity.

August 2022

Still spending time down the valley by Pepi Road towards the harbour, 11 hours nightly activity.

July 2022

He has worked his way down the valley by Pepi Road towards the harbour, 10.5 hours nightly activity.

June 2022

NW of Pepi road, 11.5 hours nightly activity.  A couple of local dogs wandered nearby recently, locals now knowing they have kiwi in the area reacted quickly. The dogs are now in a new kennel and under close watch.

June 2022

Now we are no longer tracking kiwi Ross, Pepi is the furthest west  of any monitored kiwi that Backayrd kiwi is currently tracking.
We continue to follow Pepi and he has moved away from Ross. Will they join up again or will a female come on the scene?

2018- 2021

Ross was the kiwi who  introduced us to Pepi. Ross was released at Parua Bay back in March 2018. He was a star of some of the Backyard Kiwi videos and by following his radio transmitter we were able to tell the story of his exploration around Parua Bay and then further west before settling in the Pepi Road area. This is the furthest west that we have followed a released kiwi.



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