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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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July 7th, 2023

2023 June Report

 Thanks to the NRC, Kiwi Coast and our Proud Supporters 

Long time Backyard Kiwi supporters Ross & Lyn Brown from GAS Parua Bay recently became financial supporters so please support this wonderful local business that supports our community so well.

Kiwi count for Whangarei Heads:  1,115 adult kiwi

Thanks to all our official kiwi counters hard work and number crunching the estimated adult kiwi population for the Heads has come out at 1,115 this year, much the same as last year’s 1,130 count and well up on the 2001 estimate of only 80.

This is a very hearting measure of the effectiveness of the Kiwi Recovery work being done at the Heads. What a fantastic community effort – particularly the crucial good dog control and the rate payer funding!  Great support by agencies;  NRC, Kiwi Coast and DoC.  Special thanks to Ngati Hine who had the faith to gift some of their kiwi to bolster early low numbers and to help engage the community with their kiwi through the release program.

If you would like to see how the 1,115 estimate is calculated check out the details at the end of this email- a copy of the email sent to the kiwi counters.

Whangarei Heads High Value Area

The WHHVA working group met to consider the proposed budgets for Backyard Kiwi and Weed Action Whangarei Heads for 2023-2024. The approved budget for BYK predator control, kiwi monitoring and project management was $86,000.  This is excellent value for money for the effective kiwi recovery work and equates to 50 cents/week/local rate payer. Thank you to the ratepayers and to the NRC for their ongoing management of this funding of our community work.

Kiwi transfer and visit to Whangarei Heads School 

We had a very successful move of two young kiwi from Matakohe-Limestone to Parua Bay via FOMLI whakawatea and the Whangarei Heads School. 227 people got the opportunity to get up close and personal with their kiwi and get the messages of crucial dog control and need for controlled kiwi saver-1080 pulsing. The message seems to be getting through – when I called into the school a few weeks later I got mobbed by excited kids telling me that they walk their dog on a lead!! Very satisfying.

The young male kiwi was named “Humphries” by the School in recognition of their long serving Deputy Principal Denise Humphries who has been a key link between the school and Backyard Kiwi for many years. The young female kiwi was named “Te Motu Manu Hine” by local artist and BYK stalwart Heather Hunt. Both kiwi have settled well into a large dog free block of pines and bush on Owhiwa Road.

Road Kill-  It’s not all good news unfortunately.  An adult female was killed by car strike on the Whangarei Heads Road just south of the Nook turn off. She was 2400g in weight and had a bill of 134.3mm so was a mature female. She didn’t have an ID chip so was a wild hatched and grown kiwi, which is a good reflection on the local stoat and dog control- but always sad.

Recently released kiwi:

Humphries with Todd and Denise Humphries

Te Motu Manu Hine with Ngaire

  • Humphries –  After a bit of a circle around after his release (1600g, 99.8mm) he has moved north to the native bush up the valley from the Martins’ pine block on Owhiwa Road.  12 hours activity.
  • Te Motu Manu Hine – She has remained in the pine block where we released her (1950g, 121.0mm, PM), 12.5 hours activity.

What your monitored kiwi have been up to:

 Whangarei Heads/Parua Bay  Radio monitored kiwi:

  • Hope – Still settled for the moment in the pampas and pines at the North end of Martins’ block Owhiwa Road. 11.5 hrs nightly activity.
  • Fish – He is moving between Halses’ block at the end of Ross road and the pines on Owhiwa road.  11 hours of activity.
  • Chookie – Nesting 44 days on 26/6/23. He has a good low  3.5 hours of activity- he’s a good nester this fella. Kerry and I had a careful go at more accurately locating his nest but he is in a big area of pampas so we couldn’t get too close.
  • Teina – Still in his usual haunt of pampas and pines at the north end of Martins’ pine block Owhiwa road.12 hrs activity
  • Beach Girl – Back over at the Halses’ place at the end of Ross Road.  10.5 hours average activity.
  • Pepi – 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).
  • Wally – Usual area, pine block at the end of Campbell Road. 11 hours activity
  • Pakipaki – In the pampas at the top end of  McLeod Bay Horse paddock, near Waewae. 12 hours nightly activity.
  • Waewae – This is the male found with Pakipaki last month. He is still hanging with her in the Horse paddock, McLeod Bay.  12 hours activity. It will be interesting to see if he nests soon.
  • Murdoch  – After a fair bit of moving he seems to have settled  in the area between the end of Owhiwa and Ross Roads for now.   10.5 hours of activity.
  • Feta Mama – He has circled back to the north of Martins’ block. He is in between the recently released Humphries and Te Motu Manu Hine so may be making himself know to them. 13 hours of activity.
  • Om – After moving north to the  Halses’ block at the end of Ross Road she has settled there for now.  11 hours of activity.
  • Maia – After returning from Ross Road she is still hanging by the Martins’ hut and calling regularly. 13.5 hours of nightly  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. 13 hours activity
  • Buddha – In the creek bed in the paddock between McGraths’ quarry and reserve. 13 hours of activity.
  • Macio – Southern Purua reserve. 11 hours activity.
  • Otiria –  In the South side of Purua reserve, a huge 14.5 hours average nightly activity!!.
  • Mitch  – South Purua reserve, 13.5 hours activity
  • Kopaki – Still no signal.
  • 64 – South side of Purua reserve, Nightly activity of 12.5 hours.
  • Tahi – At the back of Alisons’ farm, east of Purua reserve.  12 hours of activity.
  • Rua – This is the male found with two females back in April who’s data stream showed a start to nesting last month. When I checked his location he had moved and definitely wasn’t nesting, also there was no sign of nesting in the burrow that he was in last month. Not sure what is going on?
  • Macky –  In the gut below McGraths’ quarry. 12.5 hours activity.
  • Derek  ­– At the back of McGraths’ farm. 13.5 hours activity

Trapping/ toxin pulses

June catches: Stoats 5, Weasels 7, Cats 1, Rats 106, Hedgehogs 1, Possums 5.

At this time of year these are battle hardened, adult stoats and the females are all pregnant so catching them will help to protect spring chicks.

Annual Totals for the 2022/23 year are: Stoats 33, Weasels 38, Cats 18, Rats 971, Hedgehogs 44, Possums 64

This is the biggest annual stoat catch since we got 42 in the 2012-13 season and our 3rd highest ever since 2002-3 when we got 55.

But 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 trapshy stoats through secondary poisoning via rats. Manaia is due for that pulse this spring.

With it looking like a bumper breeding season the timing of this pulse will mean a bumper crop of kiwi chicks.



Todd Hamilton

Backyard Kiwi Project Manager

Whangarei Heads Landcare Forum

M 021 1145 385



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