A huge amount of development is happening in Far North District. Most of it, of course, involves our beautiful coastal and bush areas.
There are good and bad ways to do anything and development is no different.
This site in Rangitane is a case study in how not to develop in terms of kiwi
habitat. The developer employed a “clear earth”
policy by using diggers and bulldozers to remove the bush and top soil.
He next covered the site with sieved earth brought in from elsewhere.
The native bush was replaced by exotic palms and grass.
The result is that where there used to be kiwi habitat, in fact some of the best in Kerikeri, there is now a sterile environment which is unlikely to attract kiwi for many years.
Contrast this with a subdivision a few minutes away at Napia Bay on the Kerikeri Peninsula where the developer has protected and enhanced the bush to encourage kiwi. They have also covenanted the land to prevent the keeping of pets and to maintain a predator control system.
A subdivision at Doves Bay also protected the bush and covenanted the land. Landowner Shane Moon said: “We have enjoyed being amongst kiwi since we moved here, frequently hearing them and occasionally seeing them, and we want to protect them for future generations.”
Come to the Annual General Meeting of the NZ Kiwi Foundation Charitable Trust to be held at Aroha Island Ecological Centre on Saturday 20th May 2006 at 3pm. The AGM business should be concluded by 4pm. Then our guest speaker, Tim Lovegrove, will talk about translocations of native bird species. This will be followed by refreshments. Please bring a food or drink contribution and/or something for the BBQ.
For Aroha Island, take the road to Opito Bay from Kerikeri and turn right for Rangitane. The Aroha driveway is 100 metres on the left. There is plenty of parking near the Information Centre where the meeting is to be held. Take care on the driveway as it is single track. Camping is available.
Every day Pauline Stephinson remembers why she is spending the year as a Royal Society Fellow at Aroha Island. It's for the children.
The teacher of 5 years believes her experiences will make her better able to bring an environmentally responsible message back to her classroom at Oromahoe School near Kerikeri.
“Children want to know about the environment,” she said. “They are like sponges, they remember how many legs a creature has and what it eats.”
The environment has always been central to her teaching and that was a reason she decided to apply for the Royal Society Fellowship.
“Teachers can now incorporate Environmental Education into all subject areas using the Ministry of Education's Environmental Guidelines. For example we can use statistics to find out the predominance of a tree species in a given measured area.
“Every day here I am writing notes about useful activities and ideas I can take back to school.”
Pauline is looking at the possibility of increasing biodiversity on private land in Northland.
She explains: “This means restoring species that would be here if there were no animal pests. Specifically I'm working on in re-introducing the North Island robin.”
Most of Far North District has small populations of kiwi, unlike almost everywhere else in New Zealand.
We believe landowners want to protect this special bird on their land, but may need help.
For advice on some simple ways you can care for and encourage kiwi just telephone 09 407 5243 or email firstname.lastname@example.org to receive an information pack and/or talk to someone who can advise you.
Our two most visible pest animals are rats and possums. These two are the easiest pests to control but before laying traps or poison you may need to identify them.
A current method of identifying and monitoring whether you have rats and possums is by using wax tabs (pictured below).
Some flour is dusted on the tabs which are stapled to trees about 300mm off the ground.
The wax tabs are checked two days after setting and possum and rat teeth marks are easily identifiable.
Let us know if you want to test for their presence.
From 16th May to 7th June there is a national monitoring exercise to find out numbers of kiwi across New Zealand.
The Kiwi Foundation plans to have at least 12 stations in the Kerikeri area. This is a wonderful opportunity to learn about kiwi calls and get involved with their conservation.
For further kiwi information and to join an evening's course ring Tim Robinson on 09 401 7104.
One reason you may want to join in monitoring is to discover if you have kiwi on your land. You can identify their presence by listening for their calls or inspecting likely areas for their footprints and probe holes:
The stroppy young kiwi, Kapai, had no idea what a distinguished knee it was resting on, as the US Open Golf Tournament Winner, Michael Campbell, prepared to release it back into the wild at Kauri Cliffs resort near Matauri Bay.
While Kapai struggled, MichaelCampbell described it as an honour and a privilege to be involved in the project which had saved the 6-month-old male brown kiwi.
Kapai had been found in an effluent drain on an Okaihau dairy farm weighing less than 300 grams and was hand raised by Gay Blunden at Aroha Island Ecological Centre near Rangitane.
In preparation for Kapai's release, the Kiwi Foundation has overseen the pest management system run by Darcy Rhodes at Kauri Cliffs Waiaua Bay Farm, where there are already at least 20 kiwi.
“This is a rare event. Most kiwi that are found are dead,” said foundation convener Greg Blunden.
“In this case, a baby kiwi was saved from almost certain death by stoats or cats.”
The release of Kapai is part of the Kiwi Foundation's drive to encourage private land-owners to protect kiwi.
Tam got interested in kiwi work three years ago. He spent a year training with the NZ Kiwi Foundation and has been a full-time employee for the past two years. Whilst he lives at Matoa near Kerikeri, Tam traps and poisons animal pests all over Far North District. He calls it “the best office in the world”, a different view and a different piece of bush every day.
Please send us your ideas about and experiences with kiwi. Kids, we'd love kiwi drawings. We will publish a selection of both in our newsletter and on our website.
Most pet owners think that people who are interested in saving the kiwi hate pets. It’s much more complicated than that.
Let's look carefully at the situation. Remember that the uniqueness of kiwi is that they evolved in an environment devoid of mammals. There were no mammals in New Zealand before the arrival of humans.
So we ask that all owners accept that dogs and cats can kill, no matter how old or pampered they are, and ensure they look after their animals in a way which prevents them harming other animals.
We ask dog owners to keep their pets under control at all times, as is required by council by-laws. However, some dog owners like to let their dogs run around in the bush and on the beaches which are precisely the areas where ground-dwelling birds, such as kiwi, are most likely to be and are at the greatest risk. Please keep your dog on a lead when off your fenced property.
Cats kill the largest range and number of other animals. Again, responsible ownership is the key:
We ask that if you have a cat in kiwi country, that it should be well-fed, neutered, have a bell on its collar, and be kept inside at night.
When your pet eventually dies of old age, please don't replace it. That will ensure that kiwi will have a better chance to survive in the vicinity of your property.
Dr. Greg Blunden (Convenor), Lindsay Charman, Ross Lockyer, Howard Smith, Lynette Smith (Treasurer), Russell Thomas.