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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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March 4th, 2024

2024-February Report

Backyard Kiwi Release 

Last Sunday’s kiwi release at Parua Bay was a fantastic community event. 400 locals and visitors welcomed 3 new kiwi and had the special opportunity to meet them up close.


Thank you to all those involved in the huge team effort that make these community engagement releases possible. Particular 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 thanks to technical and financial support by Kiwi Coast , the Northland Regional Council and DoC.

The 3 kiwi released:

Manaaki and Bill


Kotahitanga and Ngairie

  • Sandy– a 6 year old male named by Lionel Sands (a long time Backyard Kiwi Proud Supporter) whose family were instrumental in a large part of the Bream Head Reserve going into public ownership.
  • Manaaki – a kiwi of 1850g who is still growing so we are not sure of its sex yet.  He/she was released by Allen Holwell who has been a financial supporter of the work going into the kiwi saver pulses this season.
  • Kotahitanga – Unity – named by FOMLI and Te Parawhau. He is only about 18 months old, is 1600g and is still growing. (pics attached)

Sandy& Todd with locals

Take The Lead

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 the crucially effective ground based Kiwi saver/1080 pulses.

All 3 of the kiwi have settled in well.  They have been heard calling in response to local kiwi already.

What some of your other kiwi have been up to:

Whangarei Heads/Parua Bay  Radio monitored kiwi:   

  • Chookie–  His new transmitter is working well. In his usual area west of Owhiwa Road. 10 hours activity.
  • Teina– He has dropped down the valley at the north end of Martins’ pine block.  9 hours activity.
  • Beach Girl – She has been hanging in the pampas at the top end of Teina’s valley  on the Martins’ and Halses’ blocks boundary between Owhiwa and Ross Roads. Her nightly activity is 9.5 hours.
  • Hope –  She has remained in the pampas and young pines at the Northern end of Martins’ block, 9.5 hours activity. She is now over 3 years old and is well settled so will remove her tx next handle.
  • Murdoch – At the end of Owhiwa Road. His data stream showed a hatch at day 71 of nesting but 7 days later when I pinged him again he had left the nest and was up to 10 hours activity i.e. not nesting!  There was egg shell and membrane in the pampas nest but no sign of a chick, dead or alive. Murdoch was 100m down the hill in a tomo – I did his tx change – 1850g and Poor condition after his nesting effort.
  • Om– She has dropped down into the valley below where Murdoch had nested.  Between the end of Owhiwa Road and Ross Road. 10 hours of nightly activity.
  • Maia– In the native bush west of Martins’ hut.   10 hours nightly activity.
  • Humphries–  He is still hanging in the pines and pampas in between  Owhiwa Road and Tauranui Road, 8.5 hours nightly activity.
  • Tanker – He has moved up the ridge toward Owhiwa Road. 10 hours activity.
  • Wally–Down in the wetland by the estuary at the end of Campbell Road.  9.5 hours activity.
  • Waewae– His nest in the dense pampas in the McLeod Bay Horse paddock looks to have failed. Was going well up to day 57 but his activity has increased since.

Whareora Landcare area:

  • Fetu Mama – She is in the NRC pines south west of the Maungatika Scienic Reserve- still settled for the moment. Nightly activity of 9.5 hours.
  • Te Motu Manu Hine – She has remained in the NRC pine block south of Mt Tiger Road. 10.5 hours activity.
  • Fish– PNLC monitoring

Purua missing dads and a new dad

Two of the monitored dads in Purua have dropped off the radar. Julia from DoC and I have had big searches for their radio signals with no joy. So it looks likely that Macky and Mitch have failed txs.

As part of the rotation of kiwi dads, to ensure good genetic variation, we look for new dads each year. Lesley Baigent and her kiwi dog Yagi had a good day of kiwi finds in Purua recently. 6 kiwi found and handled: I new dad now transmitted, 2 chicks found out in the open – 1 transferred to Limestone the other taken to WNBRC (it was very skinny and crook, and has since died), 1 skinny 1200g male? and 2 adult females.  2 additional adult female kiwi were located but not handled- 1 too deep in the burrow and the other sighted up close on a steep slope and left.  Conditions were very dry and the ground hard, hopefully the recent showers have made conditions better for the kiwi. No sign of the two missing dads. The chick’s body has been sent for testing.

Rarewarewa/Purua ONE dads: no sign of late nests.

  • Moondust  – Behind Lovells’ Irving road woolshed – 9 hours activity
  • Buddha– In the paddock north of McGraths’ quarry.  9 hours of activity.
  • Macio– West of Kauri Tree Ridge in south Purua.  10 hours activity. I did his 6 monthly band change; 2200g and Good condition. He was with a female kiwi – her ID chip: 6687903 showed that she had originally been found and chipped way back in 2005. She was 2400g, PM cond. So Macio may not have nested this year but at least he has a mate.
  • Otiria–  Has moved (his first big move  in 2 years) West  to the wetland at the bottom of the south side of Hawkins’ hill. 9 hours activity. Maybe the dry conditions have force the move?
  • Mitch– Still no signal after big searches
  • 64– On the steep slope SW side of Purua reserve. 10.5 hours activity.
  • Tahi– Up near the peak of Purua.  9.5 hours of activity.
  • Rua– Up the back of Alisons’ farm – 9.5 hours activity.
  • Macky–   Still no signal after big searches .
  • Derek– On  “Stump” Ridge South-East Purua reserve. 9.5 hours activity.
  • New dad R 63260 –   Found by Yagi on the face above Lovell’s airstrip in a fallen punga – similar spot to where he was previously found by kiwi dog Percy back in 2013. He was 2000g, and PM condition. He was with an unmarked female- 2250g and poor condition. Back in 2013 he was with a different female -RA 3436. Hopefully this new pair can add some chicks to our release program.

Trapping/ toxin pulses

Feb catches: Stoats 1, Weasels 2, Cats 0, Rats 112,  Hedgehogs 8, possums 6.

I presume that the low catch numbers are the result of the large areas of secondary poisoning on the peninsula this season cleaning out the stoats.  There are new stoats on their way back in though – saw one run across Ocean Beach Road and another on the road at McKenzie Bay just to wind me up!

Annual kiwi count

Our annual kiwi count is coming up in mid May – any well organised, reliable data recorders, with GOOD hearing out there, brave enough to do 4 nights 6-8pm on the hill??

Please let me know if you would like to be part of our hard working kiwi counting team who do this vital job. We will have a training night some time in April.

Cheers Todd

Todd Hamilton

Backyard Kiwi Project Manager

Whangarei Heads Landcare Forum

M 021 1145 385




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