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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, 2023

2023 March Report

Backyard Kiwi Release 

Last month’s kiwi release at Parua Bay was a fantastic community event. Over 360 locals and visitors welcomed 4 new kiwi and had the special opportunity to meet them up close

2023 Kiwi Release 


Smiles all around

Thank you to all those involved in the huge team effort that make these community engagement releases possible. Particularly thanks to Ngati Hine and the Purua landowners where these kiwi originally came from for the gift of the kiwi, they will be treasured!

We transfer young kiwi chicks to the FOMLI/ Te Parawhau managed Matakohe/Limestone island where they grow up before we re-catch them for release.

Community groups like Backyard Kiwi and Kiwi Link are enabling the growth of our kiwi population not only in the Whangarei Heads/Parua Bay area but now moving inland and up the coast towards Tutukaka LC thanks to technical and financial support by Kiwi Coast and the Northland Regional Council.

Kiwi Coast Ngaire & Maia

Manaia with Murdoch

The 4 kiwi released:

  • Murdoch– a 6 year old male named after Murdoch Ross, community stalwart and keen Backyard Kiwi supporter.
  • Maia– 2 year old female. Maia is named after one of the Matariki stars by Parua Bay locals.
  • Om– an adult female who was named by FOMLI and Multicultural Whangarei.
  • Fetu Mama – a juvenile kiwi named by FOMLI and the Northland Pacific Island Chartible Trust (Fale Pasifika).

The crowd heard all about why uncontrolled dogs are the number one threat to our kiwi population. We are able to release these kiwi because of the good dog control by the huge majority of our local dog owners. They also heard about local stoat control to protect kiwi chicks that involves quality trapping and crucially effective ground based Kiwi saver/1080 pulses.

All 4 of the kiwi have settled in well.  They were heard calling in response to local kiwi shortly after their release. You can follow the transmitted kiwi movements on our website monthly report and tracking map: Local Kiwi Profiles

Onerahi & Whangarei Heads Lions – Thank you for the ongoing support as one of Backyard Kiwi “Proud Supporters”. I attended a recent meeting and dinner and updated the Lions on the successful work of Backyard Kiwi and how their financial support is effectively used.

Upcoming Dates: 

Kiwi Counting- May 9-28- If you are an official kiwi counter you should have got my update email already. Thanks for doing this very important job of monitoring the outcome of all our hard stoat, ferret and dog control work.  We are looking for some extra quality counters – so if you are well organised, have good hearing and recording skills and are happy to sit in the cold and dark for 2 hours (6-8pm) for 4 nights let me know please. I know it sounds irresistible!- but it is crucial work that needs doing accurately.

Whangarei Heads Landcare Forum AGM- week of May 22 date to be finalised.

The WHLF is a crucial platform that allows many of our community groups to carry out their important work at the Heads. Once the date is finalised I will send it out- as usual it would be great to have a few folks from each group to give a brief update on what has been happening.

Northland Pest Control Workshop Sunday May 28th, at the Celtic Barn in Waipu

These are always great events with heaps of good speakers. Big thanks to Ngaire and Kiwi Coast for organising them – see Kiwi Coast website for details.

Kiwi saved by BBQ (and smart dog owners)

It was very heartening to be rung on a Saturday morning by a local dog owner with a kiwi hidden under his BBQ in his dog compound. He had accidently left the dog compound gate open the previous night when he brought the dogs inside to sleep. In the night they thought they had a prowler when the dogs went nuts (inside the house) and luckily in the morning he controlled the dogs who were trying to get under the BBQ!  The kiwi was safe and well, 1500g and 108.8mm, looking like a sub-adult female – now ID chipped and named “Everly” by the locals (see pic). Before I put her back in the nearby pampas the locals got a quick chance to meet her as part of their street working bee on the road there -and get the dog control message and were very happy to meet one of their kiwi up close.

John & Kiwi Everly

Kiwi road kill

Unfortunately another young kiwi was killed only 100m away the very next night! Iinitially thought to be a dog kill but the Massey Uni autopsy findings point to car strike (see pic). The autopsy also found that the young kiwi was very sick with nematode worms picked up from cats and probably wandering around on the road. Another reason to keep cats away from kiwi!  On the up side the age and size of both these kiwi is a good indication of the effective stoat control in the area.

Fish going well

The kiwi hit by a car back in November continues to do well – showing just how tough their butts are compared to their heads and chest. Also just how lucky “Fish” was! Bill helped me catch up with Fish in a patch of pampas west of Ross Road recently and he is very active and healthy (see pic).

Wally the Super Dad

Wally successfully finished his 3rd successive nest for the season – back to back to back- 9 months continuous nesting!!! I checked his nest in a dead pampas bush at the end of Campbell Road after his data stream indicated the end of nesting (an increase in activity) after 91 days on this nest.  He had hatched another healthy chick – now ID chipped and DNA sampled. Campbell Road Landcare group will name him (see pic).

Wally’s massive nesting effort is only possible because of the wet year that we have had, meaning heaps of kiwi tucker for the kiwi to keep in good condition.  With the nights getting longer the kiwi are now hard out feeding getting ready for the upcoming breeding season peak.

2023-March- Wally’s chick

What your monitored kiwi have been up to

Whangarei Heads Radio Monitored Kiwi:

  • Hope – Still moving about a bit from different patches of pampas and pines at Owhiwa Road. 10.5 hrs activity.
  • Fish– Bill and I caught up with this guy in a small patch of pampas in an area of regenerating bush off Ross Road. He is still looking good after his car strike and was 1525g,  90.7mm,G. 11 hours  activity.
  • Chookie– Hanging in his usual patch of native bush/pines and pampas. 10 hours activity.
  • Malaika– Has remained over 500m north of her usual area near Chookie. Her activity is now good and high at 11 hours nightly. Newly released Feta mama has made his way to her area.
  • Teina – This fat boy now has several females nearby so may find a mate. He is in his usual haunt of pampas and pines at the north end of Martins’ pine block Owhiwa road.
  • Beach Girl – Keeps moving between the pines by Teina and the native bush of Halses’ place at the end of Ross Road.  12 hours average activity.
  • Pepi– 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.
  • Wally– This guy takes the prize for dad of the year after 3 successful nests back to back to back starting  last June. After 91 days nesting for his last nest, a data stream showing a hatch 14 days prior and  his activity increased to 7 hours  I checked the nest.  There was 1 chick and 1 dud egg pushed to the side of his old dead pampas bush nest. Dad was in ok condition showing how good feeding conditions have been for kiwi over the past 9 months. 1800g MP. Annual transmitter change done.
  • Pakipaki– In Johnstone’s paddock McLeod Bay. 11 hours activity.

Recently released kiwi:  

  • Murdoch – After spending some time at the end of Ross Road he has headed north up the valley of native bush that Owhiva Road wraps around. 11.5 hrs activity.
  • Feta Mama – Has headed south from his release spot to the area that Malaika is in near the Martins’ hut. 11 hours activity.
  • Om– in a valley of pampas and pines at the north end of Martins’ pine block Owhiwa Road.  10 hours activity.
  • Maia– In a valley of pines and pampas off the end of Ross Road. 11.5 hours average activity.

Rarewarewa/Purua ONE dads:
1 chick transferred to this month. Season total of 15 chicks transferred onto Limestone and 10 adult/subadult off so a good season.

  • Nick– Feeding up after nesting in Lovells’ Bush.  11 hours nightly activity.
  • Sancho– no signal this month.
  • Ngutu Roa – Nested in his usual area SW reserve, 2nd egg hatched (LC2215) and transferred to Matakohe/Limestone after dad had been nesting for 102 days (see pic).
  • Moondust– no signal this month.
  • Buddha– In the paddock between McGraths’ quarry and reserve. 11 hours activity.
  • Macio– On Kauri Tree ridge, southern Purua reserve. 11 hours activity.
  • Mitch – South side of Purua reserve, 10.5 hours activity.
  • Otiria– South side of Purua reserve, Nightly activity of 11 hours.
  • Kopaki– South side of Purua reserve, Nightly activity of 12 hours.
  • New male –South side of Purua reserve, Nightly activity of 11 hours.

Trapping/ toxin pulses

March catches: Stoats 2, Weasels 4, Cats 0, Rats 99, Hedgehogs 3, Possums 6.

One of the stoats was a huge male that would have been doing huge damage (see pic). It is these older, tougher, wiser and often trapshy stoats that do far more killing than the young dumb ones – of which 80% die anyway. This is why controlled pulses of 1080/Kiwi saver are so important- they get these smart ones.

a BIG stoat 

Long report – well done if you managed to get to the end of this!


Cheers Todd

Todd Hamilton

Backyard Kiwi Project Manager

Whangarei Heads Landcare Forum



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