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There’s a kiwi in the wheelhouse – precious cargo on the Hauraki Gulf

Published: 14 March 2019
  • Releasing kiwi on pest-free islands in the Hauraki Gulf
  • Weta release on pest-free island in the Hauraki Gulf

Joining 170 day-trippers on a Fullers360 ferry last month, a 30-day-old kiwi chick sat nestled into his “Kiwi on the Move” travel box in the ferry’s wheelhouse. The kiwi chick was being safely moved to the sanctuary of Rotoroa Island.

"The kiwi population is declining, and the hero organisations saving them have the goal to grow each species of kiwi by two per cent every year. Fullers360 wants to get more people to the island to help raise awareness and support this mission,” said Fullers360 CEO Mike Horne.

A kiwi chick riding as a makeshift 'first mate' to a ferry skipper isn’t an uncommon scene, with Fullers360 assisting with wildlife releases across the Hauraki Gulf / Tīkapa Moana.

Thanks to biosecurity efforts and tireless volunteer work, islands such as Rotoroa Island and Motutapu Island are the perfect creche islands for kiwi.

A series of kiwi releases happen throughout each summer in the Hauraki Gulf, with more expected on both Rotoroa and Motutapu Islands later this season.  

Hauraki Gulf Forum Chairperson John Meeuwsen says there are now 47 pest-free islands in the Hauraki Gulf.

“Pest-free islands are crucial sanctuaries for the recovery of many species,” says Mr Meeuwsen.

“We love helping Aucklanders get out to explore their own backyard - the beautiful Hauraki Gulf. We don’t take our role lightly and are always finding ways to improve our biosecurity programme to protect the islands we travel to every day,” said Mr Horne. 

This is an extract from an article that originally appeared in the Gulf Journal and is used with permission. Read the full article here.

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