Keeping kiwi safe on our pest-free Gulf islands

Last Updated : 07 May 2016
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Two kiwi arrive by helicopter on Motutapu Island
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James Brown performs karakia
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Kite the kiwi is lifted out of box
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Whenua the kiwi
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Whenua with kiwi handler Jillana Robertson
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Whenua is taken into bush to be released
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Kite with kiwi handler Andrew Nelson from Auckland Council
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The burrow created for the kiwi's arrival

Auckland’s Motutapu Island has welcomed some new arrivals recently, as five kiwi have been introduced to the pest-free island.

A partnership between the Department of Conservation, Motutapu Restoration Trust, Ngāi Tai ki Tāmaki, Ngāti Paoa, Ngāti Tamaterā, Auckland Zoo and the Coromandel Kiwi Collective made the translocation possible.

Now close to 40 kiwis

The five new birds join the approximately 20 already living there; bringing the number closer to the 40 birds needed for a sustainable population. Only around 1700 Coromandel brown kiwi remain, and this collaboration is a great example of what needs to be done to save kiwi from extinction in the wild.

A long journey

Two kiwi were caught in Whenuakite, Coromandel, and were named Whenua and Kite by Ngāi Tai ki Tāmaki Chair James Brown who performed a karakia on their arrival. They travelled by helicopter and were accompanied by members of the Coromandel Kiwi Collective. Auckland Council Regional Biodiversity Advisor Andrew Nelson was assisting the operation as an approved kiwi handler.

A further three kiwi arrived a few days later. Their journey took them from the Coromandel to Auckland and then to Rotoroa Island. The birds made their final journey from Rotoroa Island in a double-hulled and masted waka hourua.

Auckland Council’s Biosecurity Manager Brett Butland is also the Chair of the Motutapu Restoration Trust, and along with the rest of the organisation is celebrating the young birds' arrival.

It takes a village to raise a child

"We've given a new slant to the saying 'it takes a village to raise a child'. While we will be looking after them while they're here, it has taken the dedication of many people to get them this far, and we thank them sincerely."

The island’s Restoration Trust and local iwi have for many years worked together to eradicate pests like cats, possums and hedgehogs who threaten our native wildlife.

Keep the islands pest free

To help keep Motutapu and all other islands pest free, visitors to the Gulf need to remember to check their gear and boats to make sure they are not transporting any of these unwanted species.. To learn more about keeping the islands safe for kiwi and all other native birds and plants, check out the Treasure Islands website.

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