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Newsletter ~ July 2007 Issue

Phantom returns to whanau

Kiwi Man, Lindsay Charman, held a group of lucky 6 and 7 year olds transfixed as he introduced them to “Phantom” the rescued kiwi.

The twenty primary school children from Riverview School, Kerikeri, were able to have a good look at the young male kiwi before it was released at Opito Bay on June 15.

Phantom returns to whanau

Chase Mato, 6, said: “I think the kiwi is very cool. Seeing it was amazing.”

Some of the children were surprised at how the kiwi looked in real life.

Callum Judd, 7, said: “It didn't look anything like I thought it would and it was a baby not an adult.”

And Maddison Greggory, 7, wanted to cuddle it: “He had lots of feathers and was very soft.”

Phantom, a North Island Brown kiwi, had been nursed back to health after it had been found injured in the front garden of a house at Opito Bay’s waterfront. It had been hit by a car.

All the children listened intently as Lindsay told them this little kiwi was now well enough to go home.

“He's fit and strong again and really fighting to get back to where he belongs,” he said.

“We're going to release him and tonight he's going to again hear all his whanau calling for him.”

Then it was time for the release. For Sue Rowsell who found the injured Phantom this was a wonderful moment.  

“He's twice the size of when we found him. I was working in the garden and decided to pick a passionfruit. I looked down I saw something curled up, motionless in the long grass.

“I thought it was a rat or a possum but then I realised it was a kiwi. I called the Kiwi Foundation.”

Lindsay announced his retirement as a Kiwi Foundation trustee at the AGM. See the report over the page.

Yet another kiwi killed

Phantom was saved but an adult kiwi in Opito Bay, more than likely from Phantom's whanau, was found dead – the same day Phantom was released.

The bird was found on the lawn of a house in Tikorangi Road.

It's not known how it died, but it is thought to be the result of a dog attack.

The Kiwi Foundation asks all owners of dogs to recognise their pets are a serious threat to kiwi and to please keep them under control at all times.

A new secretary - yippee

Our appeal for a secretary in the last newsletter has been successful.

We are delighted to announce that Michelle Robinson, wife of Kiwi Foundation stalwart Tim Robinson, has taken on the job.

Michelle who is a primary and intermediate teacher at a local school decided to volunteer because she feels the Kiwi Foundation is a good use of her time.

Tiree and duck

She said: “If I’m going to give my time I want it to be worthwhile. Kiwi are our national icon and they are in our backyard – literally. Here I feel I can make a difference.”

Michelle and Tim came to Kerikeri three years ago from Hamilton, where they’d lived for a year, after moving from Tim’s native Scotland.  

Michelle and her daughter Tiree at Aroha Island where Gay Blunden shows Tiree one of the ducks. Tiree isn't sure.

Thank you Christine

Royal Society Teacher Fellow Christine Henderson has returned to her teaching duties after five fruitful months with the Kiwi Foundation.

Dr Greg Blunden, foundation convener, said Christine's work has been very much appreciated: “She threw herself into the projects with enthusiasm. We are grateful to have had her and wish her well back in the classroom.”

Christine organised the kiwi monitoring which is still ongoing. She also carried out surveys in Russell and Kerikeri to find out what people know and think of the Kiwi Foundation and the work it carries out. The results of these surveys will be presented in the next newsletter

She told last month's newsletter that a questionnaire in Russell illustrated that the work of the foundation, Russell Landcare Group and Laurence Gordon is highly regarded.

“Without exception everybody had noticed and appreciated the increase in native birds in the
area,” she said.

Kiwi Monitors

A big thank you too is owed to all those people who braved the recent bad weather to take part in the kiwi monitoring.

Monitoring, which is still under way and won't be finished until the end of this month, involves listening for and recording kiwi calls.

It helps us to gauge if numbers of kiwi are up, down or have remained much the same.

Expect results in the next newsletter.

Kiwi on the road

Kiwis on the road

We hope you've noticed the new, bright kiwi stencils on Redcliffes, Opito Bay, Doves Bay, and Rangitane roads.

It took a team of four Kiwi Foundation members: Ross Lockyer, Paul Denny, Gay Blunden and Peter Ladd six hours to paint the stencils and it's hoped they'll remind drivers to slow down in  these kiwi-rich areas.

Let us know if you think more of these road signs are required and where – remember that they must not be on corners or other places where they are likely to distract drivers.

Kerikeri kiwi capital

Kerikeri is the kiwi capital of New Zealand and should be known as such.

This is the message of the Kiwi Foundation's submission to the District Council on its new structure plan.

“We have more wild kiwi than anywhere else in New Zealand and this needs to be recognised in our branding,” says Dr Greg Blunden, foundation convener.

To protect these precious birds, the foundation is also proposing that the structure plan ban dogs and cats from kiwi areas such as the Kerikeri peninsula.

“We believe a total ban is the only way really to protect kiwi, but failing a total ban we hope the council will consider banning dogs and cats from new developments.

“We also hope they would implement grandfather clauses to existing homes which would stop owners replacing a pet which has died and we hope they would ensure all pets are neutered,” says Michelle Robinson who helped frame the foundation's submission.

Other proposals include lowering the speed limit in Coastal Conservation Areas and protecting kiwi habitat.

After the structure plan submissions close on July 19th, public hearings will follow. It is expected that the District Council will then make any appropriate variations to the District Plan.

AGM report

Around fifty people attended the AGM of the Kiwi Foundation held at Aroha on the 19th May.

Annual revenue has exceeded $150,000 for the past three years now with a small shortfall on operations being reported by Edwin de Wilde, Foundation Treasurer.

Dr. Greg Blunden, convenor, described 2006 as yet another busy year with the area under integrated pest control continuing to increase and the Pest-free north of Auckland research project being launched.

Lindsay Charman, a founding trustee of the Foundation who was retiring at the AGM, gave a wonderful talk about conservation and kiwi after the business of the AGM was concluded.

An extra item discussed was the proposed Kerikeri-Waipapa structure plan and the opportunity this offered to gain more substantial protection for kiwi with a larger coastal conservation zone than that currently proposed for both sides of the Kerikeri Inlet. This is discussed in more detail in the article above.

What we thought of Phantom, by the children of Riverview School

Phantom transfixes children

We thought you'd like to see a selection of what the children of Riverview School wrote about their experience helping to release Phantom. All these children are aged between five and seven years old.

1. I went to let the kiwi be free. His name is Phantom. I like Phantom's feathers, I wanted to cuddle him. His feathers were brown and black. by Madi

2. I like Phantom. He is cute. I went to see him, then I went back to school. by Keti-Katie

3. I saw Phantom the kiwi two times and I liked him. I got wet but I didn't mind. by Jorgia

4. I like Phantom. Phantom has different feathers than other birds. We saw him at Opito Bay. by Grace

5. I like the kiwi. He is cute. My teacher went back the next day and saw two of his feathers. I hope he is careful when he crosses the
road. by Claire

6. I have seen Phantom. He is cool. The kiwi man is cool too. His name is Lindsay. by Caleb

Researchers come to Russell Expo

The Kiwi Foundation is holding a series of seminars on conservation and pest control as part of next month's Russell Expo.

Researchers associated with the Pest-free north of Auckland project will give short presentations on the issues facing us in trying to establish large tracts of pest-free land.

In addition, other invited speakers will discuss the sustainability of community landcare groups and a special presentation on trade in endangered species.

The seminar series will be held in Russell Town Hall on August 5 and will cover other subjects such as rats in an urban context, toxins in the environment and a comparison between open and closed sanctuaries. It begins at 10.30 a.m.

Big dates coming up!

July – Kiwi Monitoring
    contact Peter Ladd    021 0238 3130
                Gay Blunden     09 407 1119

August 4 & 5 – Russell Expo
    contact Dr Greg Blunden 09 407 1119

NZ Kiwi Foundation Trustees


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

Newsletter - Kiwi PR – Paul & Helen Denny