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Newsletter ~ April 2008 Issue

DOGS: Man’s best friend kiwi’s worst enemy

Kiwi are known to live for over 50 years, but in Northland the average age of mortality is only 13 years. This is mostly attributed to the impact of dogs (Pierce, 2005). Kiwi are versatile, they can live anywhere, have been here for more than 80 million years, and along with tuatara and weta are the original inhabitants of Aotearoa. Suddenly, in the last 200 years, kiwi have declined dramatically from several million to less than 30,000 for the North Island Brown Kiwi.

All dogs can kill kiwi - when a dog meets a kiwi, kiwi are the victims and the result is another kiwi death. Its ancient body form and lack of a sternum is no match for canine jaws. All breeds – Jack Russell, Bichon, poodle, Labrador, Waimariner, bull-staffie, all pointers & setters, pig dog, farm dog, lap dog, etc – they are all capable of killing kiwi.

The latest entry on the DoC Dead Kiwi Register reads; “25th December 2007, Rowsell Lane at Opito Bay, male and female kiwi killed by the same dog”.  Opito Bay, Doves Bay, Blacksmiths Bay, Redcliffs Road, and Rangitane all feature regularly in the register, for both “dog kill” or “vehicle” deaths.  A map of kiwi death spots for the Kerikeri Peninsula is being developed at the moment and will be published shortly.

People living in these areas should feel proud and privileged to have such an iconic bird living in their backyards, nesting on steep hillsides or in flax bushes, and calling outside their window. For most New Zealanders, there are no kiwi remaining in or even close to populated areas. Apart from pest-managed areas such as DoC mainland islands and project areas maintained by community groups, there will be no kiwi left within 15 years due to local extinctions.

Uncontrolled Dogs

Landowners, professional trappers and volunteers can take care of feral pests like rats, possums, cats weasels, stoats and ferrets, but people in these special communities need to ensure that their pets do not pose a risk to kiwi and our other endangered avifauna such as dotterel, pateke, banded rail, fernbird, and bittern.

NZ Kiwi Foundation is developing a leaflet on “What to do about uncontrolled dogs in kiwi areas”. In the meantime, telephone the FNDC dog ranger on 0800 920 029 if a dog is not under control in a kiwi area. Ideally, tie-up the dog so that it can’t do any further damage.

NZ Kiwi Foundation AGM

The 2007 Annual General Meeting of the NZ Kiwi Foundation will be at Aroha Island on Saturday 24th May beginning at 3 p.m.  On the day please give a gold coin donation to Aroha Island Charitable Trust - the NZ Kiwi Foundation no longer operates from Aroha Island.  To get to Aroha, drive through Kerikeri and follow the signs to Aroha Island and Opito Bay. Remember that no pets are allowed at Aroha.   

Launch of FNDC Kiwi booklet

The Kiwi Foundation has assisted the Far North District Council in compiling a booklet of people’s experiences with Kiwi.  The booklet is aimed at the general public and creates for the reader an atmosphere that we are truly living within kiwi habitat.  Writers have sent in stories from a number of locations around the Far North. Each story gives a recount of their personal experience with Kiwi, sometimes literally in their back yard. The Kiwi Foundation greatly appreciates the stories that have been sent in by the public for all to share and enjoy. This booklet is now available through the FNDC website or by telephoning 0800 920 029 to ask for a copy.

Pet-free subdivisions: What to do when a consent condition is being broken

Many “pet-free” subdivisions now exist in Far North District, primarily to protect our remnant populations of kiwi. But there is no FNDC monitoring of consent conditions governing Pet- free subdivisions once the s.224 under the RMA has been issued. For now, the process to follow is telephone the Consents Monitoring Manager at FNDC (0800 920 029) and identify the property where you think consent conditions are being broken. Alternatively, you can telephone NZ Kiwi Foundation with your concern and we will contact FNDC. The map below identifies the Pet-free subdivisions and the marginal strips where dogs are prohibited on Kerikeri Peninsula.

No Dogs Map






Kiwi monitoring

Kiwi monitoring is an essential element of our work because it gives us a good indication of the number of kiwi we are trying to protect. Peter Ladd is co-ordinating kiwi monitoring for NZ Kiwi Foundation in 2008. The dates are 22 May to 14 June.  Please contact Peter Ladd on 09 407 1421 or 021 447 214 if you are available or want to learn about kiwi monitoring. We really need your assistance in this part of our work which is all done by volunteers.

Pest monitoring

NZ Kiwi Foundation has implemented a large pest monitoring programme over the past two years, and the results are now on our website The purpose is to monitor pest levels within project areas and adjust the pest management programme according to the results and the aims of the project.  

This third year of the pest monitoring programme will occur between June and September 2008 on Purerua, Kerikeri and Russell peninsulas, at Takou Bay, Waiaua Bay, Kauri Cliffs, and at 13 other locations spread throughout Far North District. Rats, cats, mustelids and possums are monitored using tracking tunnels, wax tags and cat traps. The pest monitoring lines are marked with blue tape.

Field-days & workshops

Waimate North Show

Field-days and workshops are an essential advocacy tool of the NZ Kiwi Foundation. It was a busy summer; the Bay of Islands Show at Waimate North in November (photo below), the Broadwood Show and  the Northland Agricultural Field-days at Dargaville in February, a pest management workshop for organic farms in Kerikeri in March, the Puketi Forest Trust open day at Puketi also March, and a hunting-dog training day at Fairburn in April. The marquee purchased last year by the Kiwi Foundation has been put to good use!

Pateke (brown teal) – they’re at Great Barrier, so why not in our pest-managed areas?

pateke brown teal

In 1873 Buller wrote in his ‘History of the Birds of New Zealand’ (1873) with reference to the Pateke (Brown Duck, Brown Teal); “This elegant little duck is distributed all over the country, being met with in every inland lake, and often in the deep fresh-water streams which run into them, where the overhanging vegetation affords ready shelter and concealment. With the spread of settlement, the large-scale draining of swamps and the trampling of cattle, the range of pateke decreased rapidly and pateke have disappeared from most places.  Tidal creeks, lagoons, swamps, and adjacent pasture are their preferred habitat. They gather to roost in flocks by day and feed at dusk and at night. They breed well in captivity and are an ideal bird for re-introduction to suitable and predator-free locations in our region.  

Pateke strongholds exist only on Great Barrier Island, a few places in Fiordland, and a surviving remnant near Teal Bay.  The total combined population is only about 1,500. Re-introduction programmes are occurring at Ngunguru and in Coromandel during 2008.

Russell Thomas

Pest-free North of Auckland

Project work has progressed in the two “test” areas for the research project “Pest-free north of Auckland”. In the Bay of Islands, the area south from Waiaua Bay including Kauri Cliffs and Takou Bay, east of SH10, and Kerikeri and Purerua peninsulas is now comprehensively pest-managed. All animal pests are at a relatively low level within this area. The area covers more than 17,000 hectares. In addition, Russell Peninsula, Inlet/Wharau road area, and various projects on legally protected land in Far North District add another 5,500 hectares.

At Okahukura (Tapora), the first stage of the integrated pest control programme has been completed successfully with possum numbers under three percent residual trap catch over the 10,000 hectares of this project. Rats are also under control, and the trapping programme is being intensified to target feral cats, and mustelids over the entire 10,000 hectares which includes the new ARC regional park at Atiu Farm. The ARC funded the eradication with the work was carried out by Tapora Coast and Landcare Group. Well done to Bill Paikea the possum control contractor.

Various research is underway for the Kiwi Foundation:

How to save kiwi - DVD

This DVD provides some basic tutorials and information on how you can help save kiwi. It is aimed at volunteers and agencies working hard to save kiwi, and to train others to help with the cause.  The contents of the DVD include:

How to Save Kiwi has been produced by Bank of New Zealand Save the Kiwi Trust, in association with New Zealand Kiwi Foundation, and with support from the Department of Conservation.

To get a copy please see

FNDC kiwi booklet online


Many thanks to Doug (2007) and Adrienne (2008) who each gave the Kiwi Foundation a freezer for storing our bait for trapping. To those of you who give us rabbits for bait - please continue, and special thanks to Arnold and Darval for their rabbits. Thanks also to Peter Ladd for the considerable hours of voluntary work that he does for the Kiwi Foundation.

NZ Kiwi Foundation Trustees

Dr Greg Blunden (Convenor)
Ross Lockyer
Tim Robinson
Howard Smith
Russell Thomas
Kerry Walshe
Edwin de Wilde (Treasurer)

Newsletter - Kiwi PR – Paul & Helen Denny