The community group set up to tender for the lease of Aroha Island should hear this month whether or not they have been successful.
The group put in 15 days hard slog to complete the tender before the deadline at the end of February.
Kiwi Foundation member Tim Robinson says it would be the ideal solution if the community group won the lease. Aroha Island has been the headquarters of the Kiwi Foundation since its beginnings seven years ago.
“As the lease documents make no mention that the island must be used for ecological or conservation purposes, we think the only way to protect what has been created is through the community trust.”
The decision to set up the trust was made at a packed public meeting in Kerikeri on February 8th called by Kiwi Foundation members Terry Quinlan and Tim Robinson.
The foundation was concerned about plans by the islands owners the QEII National Trust to lease the management of the island to private commercial enterprises.
“The community group hopes to run the island in the spirit it has been run for over a decade. That is to promote conservation and the education of New Zealanders in their country's ecology.” said Terry Quinlan.
“We also intend to continue to provide all visitors with access to kiwi in their habitat.”
Research into whether it's possible to eradicate pests from the area north of Auckland has begun.
In one part of this project the NZ Kiwi Foundation is working with landowners and the Auckland Regional Council at Tapora near Wellsford to control mammal pests on 10,000 hectares of land, the Okahukura Peninsula.
[Picture: stoat caught in Fenn Trap]
The methods and science being used, if successful, will form the basis of further pest control work. The Bay of Islands is the other main operating area, where pest management has been intensified and a full monitoring program is now in place.
The work at Okahukura is possible thanks to money from the Aotearoa Foundation and expertise from the NZ Kiwi Foundation, support from ARC and grants from the Biodiversity Condition Fund and the ASB Community Trust.
NZ Kiwi Foundation convenor, Greg Blunden, said the scale of possible pest eradication and monitoring depended on the results of this trial.
“We are investigating how large an area can be controlled at a reasonable cost to keep mammal pests to low numbers.”
Another kiwi has been knocked down and killed by a car.
The male kiwi was hit on the road between Doves Bay and Rangitane.
NZKF Trustee Ross Lockyer said: “This happened on a straight part of the road. Obviously people are still travelling far too fast and ignoring all our warning of kiwi at night messages.”
Among those safety messages were the kiwi signs painted on the roads on the Kerikeri peninsula.
Roading contractors told residents that they were unable to replace the signs after resurfacing work on Opito Bay, Doves Bay, Redcliffs, Bush Point and Rangitane Roads because the stencils could not be found.
The stencil has now been found, having travelled and been used in many kiwi areas of the Far North. Expect refreshed kiwi signs in the near future on the Kerikeri peninsula and elsewhere.
A deep interest in our native bush and a belief that students should be given opportunities to experience the outdoors is what led Christine Henderson to apply to be a Royal Society Fellow.
She comes to the Kiwi Foundation with 30 years experience as a teacher, the last five years spent at schools in Taipa and Kaitaia.
Christine is with us on a part-time basis until June and in common with last year's Royal Society
Fellow, Pauline Stephenson, she will carry out a couple of projects and take her experiences back to the classroom.
I hope to return to teaching with renewed enthusiasm. I'll be developing a resource which will benefit the students in many different ways.”Christine will organise and run the kiwi monitoring in May and June this year. She's also carrying out surveys in Russell and Kerikeri to ascertain what people know and think of the Kiwi Foundation and the work it carries out.
So far she has completed a questionnaire in Russell with very pleasing results.
Without exception everybody had noticed and appreciated the increase in native birds in the area. Whether they live in a bed and breakfast, a private home or are a large landowner, they have all noticed.
The majority also knew of the Kiwi Foundation's work in association with Russell Landcare Group and Lawrence Gordon and realised this was why there were more birds.”
Some usually shy and retiring NZ Kiwi Foundation members were in the spotlight last month when they became “stars” in a new DVD about kiwi.
The DVD, made in association with the Bank of New Zealand Save the Kiwi Trust, will be available for use at presentations, shows, displays, schools and with talks or training workshops, and for individuals and groups.
It is divided into modules, with the first one being a short documentary about kiwi which can be played to any interested audience whenever and wherever.
The following modules are shorter and involve tutorials on predator control, cats and dogs, call count monitoring, establishing a kiwi project, habitat protection, kiwi and forestry. We expect the DVD to be launched in late June.
Some residents of the Kerikeri peninsula are still walking their dogs off the lead – please don't as it's too late when it's too late.
A kaka has been spotted in Doves Bay. The single bird was seen in bush just off Doves Bay Road.
The huge native green parrots which like to stay on the ground are now a rarity in northland, although a pair have been spotted in Kerikeri several times during the past year.
The Kiwi Foundation would like to know if anyone else has seen a kaka, or any other rare birds.
Phone 021 740 441 or email:
A baby kiwi, which had been badly injured by a car at Opito Bay, has been nursed back to health.
The North Island Brown Kiwi, nicknamed Phantom and weighing only 500grams, was taken by Gay Blunden to the Whangarei Native Bird Recovery Centre in late January.
There it was found to have a damaged air sac which made it hard for it to breath and injuries to its hips.
Gay said: “It was hardly able to eat and without help would have died.”
The bird spent more than two months at the recovery centre where it slowly began eating and walking on its own.
Robert Webb and his team did a marvellous job. Earlier this month it was returned to Aroha Island Ecological Centre where it is continuing its rehabilitation in the kiwi pen.
Gay said: “It is still quite small but very active. We know it's getting better because it's hard to handle, not co-operative at all, and it's difficult to catch for weighing, even in the small enclosure at Aroha.”
It is expected that Phantom will be released at Opito Bay in the next couple of months.
More pests will be got rid of thanks to the Biodiversity Condition grant secured at the beginning of April. This funding applies to privately owned, legally protected land.
A full-time pest manager has been funded for one year, with the possibility of a second year.
In addition the foundation received $22,000 for a year of advocacy work. This will include holding four workshops on managing your land for kiwi. Dates are to be advised with workshops scheduled for Kaitaia/Herekino, Whangaroa /Kaeo, Russell/Rawhiti and South Hokianga/Kaikohe.
Greg Blunden said that the advocacy money is very important because it will help change attitudes to kiwi pests and assist landowners and groups to set up kiwi management areas.
A homecoming welcome. Bill and Rosie Sanderson's daughter Emily found this kiwi on the doorstep to greet her when she arrived home at Mataka station.
The Kiwi Foundation needs a secretary to organise our office and take minutes at the meetings. If there is anyone out there who would consider this post, please get in touch.
Monthly meetings and writing up and distributing the minutes by email, so computer literacy is required.
It's good fun! Give Greg a call.
The AGM will be held on Saturday May 19th at Aroha Island Ecological Centre. The speaker will be Lindsay Charman (the Kiwi Man). This will be the last opportunity to hear Lindsay speak as a trustee of the Foundation as he retires at this meeting. Lindsay's speaking style is legendary, so come along and enjoy it. Food and drink afterwards.
13th May - Northland Kiwi Hui at Kaikohe.
9am to 3pm, contact Helen Moodie NZ Landcare Trust on 09 435 3865
19th May – NZ Kiwi Foundation AGM
3pm till later at Aroha Island
June – Kiwi Monitoring
contact Peter Ladd on 021 0238 3130 or Gay Blunden on 09 407 5243
Dr Greg Blunden (Convenor)
Edwin de Wilde (Treasurer)
Newsletter - Kiwi PR – Paul & Helen Denny