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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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August 11th, 2023

2023-July Report

5 known kiwi deaths in July

2 road killed kiwi and 3 dog kills.  There were only 7 reported kiwi deaths in the previous 12 months so not a good month for kiwi. The road kills were on the corner between Taurikura and McKenzie Bays and the other at the usual spot just the town side of McLeod Bay. The dog kills were a breeding pair in Little Munro Bay and an adult male on Darch Point Road.  They were all reported by the locals that found them. Thanks to Tamra, Julia and John from DoC for rapidly processing them for dog DNA and sending them to Massey University for autopsies. John has also followed up with DNA requests from nearby dog owners. A dog that had been wandering close to the kills has now been removed from the Heads.

All 5 kiwi were adults without ID chips so had only got to adulthood thanks to our good stoat control and the good dog control by the vast majority of locals. Please, please let visitors and new people to the area know that their dog must be contained or tied up when not exercising and on a lead when exercising unless in the designated “off leash exercise areas” such as Ocean Beach.

Kiwi should have a breeding life of 50 years or more with 3 chicks per year. We have just potential lost up to 250 years of combined breeding from these 5 kiwi.

Know Your Dog Workshop

Dog expert Lesley Baigent will be running a workshop for dog owners to help them understand their dog better.  Sunday August 20   2-5pm at the McLeod Bay Hall.  Email: to book a place. Thanks to Kiwi Coast for supporting this (see attached flier). Please encourage any local dog owners to come along.  They are brilliant workshops.

Predator Free Stoat Hui 

Thanks to Zac Coffin of NRC Whangarei Predator Free for inviting me to be part of the national get together of stoat experts at Waiheke Island – hosted by Te Korowai o Waiheke.

Zac and I spent an afternoon as part of trappers’ workshop before the hui which had expert panels on various stoat control issues.  It was great to catch up with the top stoat scientists and hear about the latest research findings.  The take home message remains the same as it has been for many years- trapping alone for stoats will fail as trap shy stoats build up and a controlled pulse of a secondary toxin (particularly effective is kiwisaver/1080) is essential.  This is what we have been doing at the Whangarei Heads since Hugh Robertson’s study in the Whangarei DoC kiwi study blocks showed the importance of ground based 1080 pulses for kiwi chick survival.

What your monitored kiwi have been up to:

Nesting is well underway in the Heads/Parua Bay area with Chookie’s radio data stream showing the first hatch this week.

 Whangarei Heads/Parua Bay  Radio Monitored Kiwi:   

  • Hope – After dropping off the radar we found her back in her usual spot of pampas and pines at the North end of Martins’ block on Owhiwa Road. Her transmitter frequency had changed, as they do sometimes, so it is likely that she had been there all the time. 12.5 hours nightly activity.
  • Fish – He has continued moving north and is now well north of the end of Ross Road in a big bush block there that the owners are very pleased to have a monitored kiwi in.  12 hours of activity.
  • Chookie – Nesting 80 days on 1/8/23. After being a very steady 3 hours of activity a night he dropped to 70 minutes for a couple of nights which usual shows a hatch. The nest is in a big area of pampas so difficult to accurately locate.
  • Teina– Caught up with this extremely overweight guy for his transmitter change. 11.5 hrs activity. 3550g and body thick with fat (see pic). He may be about to lose some weight though as we caught him with a new adult female- 2450g, 135.5mm and MP condition (see pic). She is now ID chipped  and has been named Atawhai by Carol. Great to find a new wild grown kiwi in the area! And also great to see Teina is finally showing some interest in females after years of seemingly ignoring them.  Hopefully they can breed and he can shed his fat nesting.  Wally was previously almost as fat but after 3 nests back to back had got down to 1650g!

  • Beach Girl – Caught up with her for her 6 monthly band change in the pampas and pine slash area of the pine harvest area on Halses’ place at the end of Ross Road.  2650g and in good condition.
  • Feta Mama – He has moved to the west side of Martins’ block – crossing the stream on his way. He is now just below the Owhiwa road on “rooster corner” there. 11 hours of activity.
  • Murdoch – This guy is well and truly settled in now after moving north to the end of Owhiwa Road. He has started nesting – 23 days in on 24/7/23, activity 4 hours nightly (see pic). Om is not far away so they may be a pair. This is the furthest north that we have ever monitored a nest so big news for the locals.
  • Om– She is now north of the Halses’ Ross road block in an area at the end of Owhiwa Road. She was conveniently in a pampas bush very close to the landowners’ driveway when I visited so I could let the landowner listen to the data stream up close. They haven’t had kiwi on their place in decades and no longer have a dog so it is a good result for all.  She is only a few 100m from Murdoch who has started nesting so they may well be a pair.  12 hours of activity.
  • Maia– After returning from Ross Road she is still hanging by the Martins’ hut and calling regularly. Humphries is now not far from her. 12.5 hours of activity.
  • Humphries – After a bit of a circle around he has settled for the moment in the bush near Maia just north of the Martins’ hut on Owhiwa Road.  12.5 hours activity.
  • Te Motu Manu Hine – She moved to the north side of Martins’ pine block on Owhiwa Road then we have lost contact for the past 3 weeks. I have start looking wider but still no signal.
  • Wally – Usual area, pine block at the end of Campbell Road. This keen guy has started nesting 33 days in on 18/7/23. 2.5 hours activity
  • Pakipaki– In the pampas at the top end of McLeod Bay Horse paddock. 11 hours activity. Once Waewae has settled into nesting I will remove her transmitter.
  • Waewae – the male found with Pakipaki a couple of months ago. He is still hanging in the Horse paddock pampas and has started nesting there.  10 days in on 27/7/23. 5.5 hours activity.

Rarewarewa/Purua ONE Dads: When I checked in early June there wasn’t much sign of nesting yet.  July’s visit should show a start to the nesting season’

  • Moondust  – Still proving difficult to catch up for his annual tx change. On the steep face behind Lovells’ woolshed. Once again in a deep burrow. 12.5 hours activity
  • Buddha – In the paddock between McGraths’ quarry and reserve. 12.5 hours of activity.
  • Macio– Southern Purua reserve. 11 hours activity.
  • Otiria–  In the South side of Purua reserve, still a huge 14.5 hours average nightly activity!!.
  •        Mitch   – South Purua reserve, 13.5 hours activity
  • Kopaki– Still no signal.
  • 64– On the steep face below the start of the western purua reserve track. He has started nesting 10 days in on 10/7/23, Nightly activity of 3.5 hours.  There was a freshly broken egg (no development) 10 m below his nest entrance so hopefully he is still on a second egg.
  • Tahi– At the back of Alisons’ farm, east of Purua reserve.  12.5 hours of activity.
  • Rua– His data stream shows a second nesting attempt- 9 days in on 10/7/23, 5.5 hours nightly activity.
  • Macky–  In Georgie’s bush at  McGraths’ farm. 12.5 hours activity.
  • Derek– At the back of McGraths’ farm. 12 hours activity

Trapping/ toxin pulses

July catches: Stoats 2, Weasels 4, Cats 1, Rats 71, Hedgehogs 1, Possums 3.

As we keep banging on about; it is the stoats that we can’t trap that become the problem. As stoats become trap shy over time even with good trapping we will start to lose more kiwi chicks to stoats – this is why we do a controlled kiwi saver/1080  pulse in appropriate areas to clean out the trap shy stoats through secondary poisoning via rats. The Manaia Landcare team have been working hard in preparation on this season’s pulse on Manaia.


Cheers Todd

Todd Hamilton

Backyard Kiwi Project Manager

Whangarei Heads Landcare Forum

M 021 1145 385





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