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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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April 12th, 2022

2022 – March Report

Kiwi Counting Season soon

Each year we work hard to estimate our kiwi population to see if our stoat and dog control at the Heads is working.  We use around 20 fixed listening sites and dedicated kiwi call counters to assess the number of kiwi calls, and more importantly the number of kiwi at each site.  We do this in the autumn/early winter because this is the breeding season when kiwi call to their mates in their breeding territories.  Over the past 21 years this method has shown our kiwi population has grown from around 80 to over 1000 – so things have definitely been working so far!

The listening window this year is May 19 to June 8.

If you are one of our kiwi call counters you will be getting the usual updated instructional email in the next month.  We could do with a few more kiwi listeners – if you are keen, reliable, patient (sitting in the cold for 4 cold 2 hour evening sessions is harder than many think), good at recording data, have excellent hearing and good directional sense please let me know (I’m serious about the skills needed – especially the reliability and hearing bit!).  Even if you aren’t an official kiwi counter it is a good time of year to listen out for your kiwi and get an idea where the breeding pairs are located. Listen to the male and female Kiwi calls here 

WHLF AGM coming up

We are working on a suitable date for the WHLF AGM – hoping to have it in person in the Hall if possible as it is always great for all the groups to get together and hear about all the good work that is happening on the ground.  Will keep you updated.

Zoom meetings

As for plenty of folks there have been a few of these lately:

  • Dog Messaging Workshop for Predator Free NZ Trust – Had input from our experience into work on positive dog control messaging being done in Wellington to support the reintroduction of kiwi there.
  • Northland Kiwi Forum – The NKF working group are still busy updating the Northland Taxon Plan.
  • Kiwi Coast Strategic Group – This hardworking team met to help continue the great work the Kiwi Coast does providing logistic and strategic support for the many groups working on kiwi recovery in Northland.
  • WDC Parua Bay Placemaking Plan – It was good to be part of this community input into the planning direction for the Parua Bay area. The main points from the kiwi point of view were minimising the impact of uncontrolled dogs outside the village area through new lifestyle blocks being dog free.  The inappropriateness of kiwi aversion training of pet dogs was also raised as unfortunately some pet owners are still wanting it for their dogs.

Backyard Kiwi Predator Control Program:

The run of young stoats has dried up (or they have got too smart for my traps). As expected for this time of year weasels are starting to turn up in the traps – which in some ways is a good sign as these little guys can be rare when stoat numbers are high.

Rolf from the NRC spent a day auditing our trapping system and traps to make sure that they were up to scratch.

The flash flooding on March 21 has kept me extra busy finding and replacing flooded traps.

  • March catches: Stoats 0, Weasels 2, Cat 1, Rats 70, Hedgehogs 12, Possums 3.

What your kiwi have been up to:

Kiwi chick – Meka


Kiwi chick – Kozmo

The ground based kiwi saver (1080) pulse at Manaia looks to have got some more chicks through. Following on from last month’s 1200g find in the gorse this month a 980g juvenile was run over on the main road near the Nook turn off. There were also 2 young chicks (10-20 days) found separately in the residential area of McLeod Bay; A stressed chick was found wandering beside the road up from the Deck by a local family driving past. He had a very heavy tick load. Once treated and cooled down he perked up. This was the weekend of the predicted intense rain so I held him over night and released him ID chipped and DNA sampled once the flooding had gone. The family named him “Meka”. Then a couple of weeks later a chick turned up cruising around the McLeod Bay playground during the day. Locals got hold of Ngaire to pick it up due to the dog and car risks there and I was over an hour away.  This guy was 215g, 44.5mm and had a moderate tick load but was still very active. After tick treatment, ID chipping etc he was moved to a safe spot. Named “Kozmo” by locals. (see pic of Kozmo in Ngaire’s safe hands before release)

Whangarei Heads Radio monitored kiwi:   

  • Chookie – Seems well settled in his nesting area of pines and natives SW end of Martins’ Owhiwa Road block. 11.5 hours activity.
  • Malaika– In pampas, in young pine block, 200m from Chookie on Martins’ block Owhiwa road. Did her 6 monthly band change 134.5mm, 1850g, mod-poor condition – hoping that her lack of condition is due to a busy season egg laying (Chookie had multiple failed attempts before 2 chick success – if he is her mate?). Her claws have always been long but with walking around on soft pine needles they are getting longer all the time – 30mm.
  • Valentine – She has been giving me the run around and spent some time back over at the Plants’ block on Tauranui rd (much to their delight).   10 hours nightly activity.
  • Ross – He is in his usual area west of Pepi Road.  11 hours nightly activity. Pepi has remained in a similar area to Ross but they are not as close together as previously. 10.5 hours nightly activity. Plan to put a kiwi listing device (KLD) in again to check for females in the area- only heard boys a couple of years back.
  • Teina– Hasn’t made any nesting attempts this season (rocks or otherwise). 11 hours nightly average. Usual area at North end of the Martins’ block.
  • Beach Girl – In native bush on Halse’s block Ross Road. 11 hours nightly activity. Did her 6 monthly band change 2650g and good condition (cf 1650g when rescued off Motuora autumn  2020). Block owners there are  excited that she is spending time at their place (see pic- her and I are a bit muddy from the tomo she was in).
  • Wally– Wally is down by the estuary edge at the end of Campbell rd and has a nightly activity of 10 hours
  • Pakipaki – After spending time in the pampas just below the Manaia club I managed to catch up with her in the rank kikuya of Johnstons’ paddock before she worked her way back into the pampas and gorse of the “Horse Paddock” at McLeods Bay. 2300g PM condition
  •  Free ranging Pakipaki


  • Nick– In his usual area in Lovells’ Bush. 10 hours nightly activity.
  • Sancho-16/3/22 data stream had him still nesting at 127 days and hatch at 28 days but his activity was still only showing 80 minutes average.  He has moved away from the nest area so must have finished nesting. He was deep in a burrow in the reserve above the quarry so left him in case it is another nest (but didn’t look nesty).
  • Ngutu roa – Usual area SW reserve, 10.5 hours activity.
  • Moondust – Usual area behind woolshed  – 11 hours nightly activity.
  • Gorgeous – Usual area Hawkins’ hill 8.5 hours activity. Tx change due but deep in tomo.
  • Nanakia– In the pine slash in the recently harvested pine block. Did his tx change 2000g M.


Cheers Todd

Todd Hamilton

Backyard Kiwi Project Manager

Whangarei Heads Landcare Forum

M 021 1145 385




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