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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 8th, 2022

22 July Report

2022 kiwi count for Whangarei Heads: 1130 adult kiwi

Thanks to all our official kiwi counters hard work and number crunching the estimated adult kiwi population for Heads has come out at 1130 this year, up from last year’s 1090 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 1130 estimate is calculated check out the details in the Annual Kiwi count section
Road kill
Found by Olly (WPF) on the usual stretch of road between Nook Road and McLeods. It was 2100g and 118.5mm bill length, i.e. it was probably a growing female, but the legs didn’t look young enough making me think that it could have been a big billed male (males have bills below 120mm). Thanks to extra measurements carried out by Julia of Doc and their interpretation by Kiwi guru Dr Hugh Robertson it was confirmed as a female. Great to have this backup. Pic attached.

She didn’t have a transponder (ID chip) so had hatched and grown locally. This at least is the usual silver lining of a road kill death as her survival to near adulthood is an indication of good stoat and dog control.

She was freshly dead so probably killed just before dawn– which coincides with the commuting traffic rush at the moment. We seem to get a few morning road kills about this time of year until the nights get shorter and heavy morning traffic happens in daylight.

What your Kiwi are up to:

The wet autumn was great for kiwi feeding up and led to a noisy breeding season. Kiwi dads are nesting now and incubating the eggs 19-24 hours a day, just coming off for a quick feed and toilet break most nights.  The very wet winter won’t be helping them as if the eggs get wet and cold they can get bacterial infection and go rotten. The smart dads are nesting in healthy, dense pampas bushes so that the eggs are raised above ground level with a good roof keeping them dry and warm.

 Whangarei Heads Radio monitored kiwi:

  • Chookie – He has settled into his nesting. His burrow is in native bush at the Martins’ block. 28 days in on 19/7/22, 3 hours average activity. It looks like the nest burrow is on the edge of an active landslip so hope that the high rainfall doesn’t upset things. Last year was his first nesting season and he had a couple of failed attempts before getting it sorted.
  • Malaika – She is still in the area 500m North from her and Chookie’s normal area on Martins’ block Owhiwa road. 9 hours average activity but quite variable.
  • Valentine – She seems to have settled for the moment, back in the area of pampas and young pines that she was in before going walk about.
  • Teina – Still in the native bush at the north end of Martins’ block. Still high activity; 12 hours nightly average.
  • Beach Girl – still in the native bush at Halses  off Ross Road. Not far from Teina. 12 hours average activity.
  • Pepi – He has worked his way down the valley by Pepi Road towards the harbour, 10.5 hours nightly activity.
  • Wally – Wally well settled into nesting. 41 days on 26/7/22, nightly activity of a good low 2.5 hours. Looks like he is in the pampas and gum tree stand at the end of Campbell road that he has nested in before
  • Pakipaki – In a gut of pampas in the paddock below the Manaia Club. 12 hours activity.

Rarewarewa/Purua A few more dads settling into nesting, hope that they have chosen dry places to nest

  • Nick –  Nesting in Lovells’ Bush, 30 days in on 20/7/22, 4.5 hours nightly activity.
  • Sancho –12 hours activity, in paddock by Lovells’ quarry.
  • Ngutu Roa – Nesting west of the big slip in the reserve, 19 days in on 20/7/22, 3 hours activity.
  • Nanakia – Nesting in Lovells’ Bush/ logged pine area. 12 days in 20/7/22 Average activity 4 hours
  • Moondust  – Couldn’t find signal, But Julia went on a mission in her weekend and found him-thanks! North side of Purua reserve. 11 hours nightly activity.
  • Gorgeous – Usual area in paddock on Hawkins’ hill. Nesting 18 days in on 20/7/22 with 4 hours average activity.  Fresh slip nearby so hope his nest is stable and not too wet.

The newly monitored Kiwi from Lesley and Yagi finds:

  • Buddha – Nesting in kiekie on “Kauri Tree” ridge, south side of Purua reserve.  Didn’t get too close but could see his back so not a very good nest for this wet weather.  25 days in on 20/7/22. Activity of 7 hours so nesting attempt may be failing.
  • Macio  – South side of Purua reserve, 12 hours activity.
  • Mitch – South side of Purua reserve, 12.5 hours activity.
  • Otiria – south Purua reserve. 13.5 hours activity.
  • Kopaki – south side of Purua reserve. 13.5 hours activity.



July to date catches: Stoats 2 (including female at Kauri Mt), Weasels 5, Cats 1, Rats 66, Hedgehogs 0, Possums 3.

Catching adult stoats this time of year if far better than catching the young dumb ones in December. The older stoats are tougher and smarter and cause much more damage than the young ones (something like 80% of the young ones die anyway).


Todd Hamilton

Backyard Kiwi Project Manager

Whangarei Heads Landcare Forum




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