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Newsletter ~ October 2007 Issue

Workmen rescue kiwi

Ron Dobbs with Kiwi

A group of truck drivers helped save a terrified young kiwi which had become trapped at the bottom of a cattle stop. The bird was discovered by men from Ashby Construction going to a job on the Purerua Peninsula, near Kerikeri. They contacted the Kiwi Foundation.

Trapper Ron Dobbs and monitor manager Peter Ladd answered the call. “We arrived and under the gate going onto private property was the cattle stop with a kiwi in the bottom of it racing around.

“Ashbys lifted the stop with their digger, Ron carefully got the kiwi and we released it into bushes,” says Peter Ladd. He adds that had the men not spotted the kiwi it would certainly have died of stress and dehydration.

To help kiwi cope with cattle stops, farmers should provide an escape route either through a pipe or up some rocks.

Kiwi Foundation stalwart recognised with Conservation Award

Russell Thomass

Long-standing member and founding trustee of the NZ Kiwi Foundation, Russell Thomas, has received a prestigious conservation award in recognition of his more than forty years of voluntary work. Russell received a Northland Conservation Award last month at a ceremony in Omapere.

A letter from the minister for conservation, Chris Carter, said the award was in recognition of Russell's work as an ornithologist and with the Taiko Trust and the NZ Kiwi Foundation.

“I am heartened by the efforts of people like you who work to enhance and protect conservation values and the environment, with or without recognition to leave our special places in the best possible condition for future generations.

“Congratulations on the award and thank you for your contribution to conservation in Northland.” For Russell, receiving the award was a proud moment: “I am very grateful to those who put my name forward for this award, it was completely unexpected.

“All of my 'conservation' participation has been extremely enjoyable and with end results such as the transfer this last May, of eight Taiko chicks into a new predator free environment, is well worth the 30 years effort.”

Russell has been a member of the Ornithological Society of New Zealand since 1963 and his years of involvement in helping to carry out bird surveys on offshore islands and around Northland have contributed to ongoing research on seabird species.

He was among a group of ornithologists to discover the Taiko population on the Chatham Islands which was thought to be extinct. Since then he has worked tirelessly to ensure the bird's survival and still plays an important role in the Taiko Trust as Treasurer and Trustee.

Russell is a founding trustee of the NZ Kiwi Foundation and was treasurer of the organisation for the first four years.

Russell Environmental Expo

Kiwi information, exhibits, pest control and conservation advice, games, quizzes, raffles and a film all helped make the Russell Expo a success. Around 60 people attended the film about global warming made by former US vice president Al Gore, “An Inconvenient Truth” which was shown at the Russell Boat Club.

Also popular were the six seminars on pest control run by research students from Auckland University. The Pest-Free Research group have been working with the Kiwi Foundation since the beginning of the year. This was the first time they had presented their results which are part of the foundation's Pest-Free project.

Kiwi Foundation trustee, Russell Thomas, found the seminars particularly interesting: “They gave a timely indication of the merit and value that they are contributing to the Pest Free Project.” New Zealand Kiwi Foundation convener, Dr Greg Blunden, said: “This was an event for all the family and it was great to see so many people young and old coming along and learning what we are all about.”

The aim of the expo, which NZ Kiwi Foundation helped organise, was to highlight the beginning of conservation week and allow a range of conservation groups and organisations the opportunity to show the community what is happening in their surrounding environment.

“We also hope to encourage local people to control pests on their own land so that native birds and plants have a better chance of thriving,” said Dr Blunden.

The Kiwi Foundation would like to specially thank Jaqui Knight for her hard work in setting up the expo and Russell Landcare, Russell Garden Club and all the other exhibitors for putting on a great show. A thank you too, to all those who provided prizes.

Kiwi: The People's Bird by Neville Peat

If you are looking for a book to read, you can't do much better than get yourself a copy of Kiwi by Neville Peat. It is the only up-to-date book on our national bird and is written for a general audience.

The author describes the kiwi from every point of view, from wild bird to national emblem.

What is this biological oddity called the kiwi?

Exactly how many species of kiwi are there?

Where do they live? What do they eat?

How are people helping them to survive?

Why does this bird have such a major place in the Kiwi nation's life?

And he tells the story of the largest popular movement in support of an endangered native species that New Zealand has ever seen.

New quad bikes and trailers

New Quad Bike

Trappers and pest control monitors at the NZ Kiwi Foundation are playing with some new toys this month and can't believe their luck.

“This new equipment, specially designed for the job, is a great change from our old second hand quad,” said Kiwi Foundation convener, Dr Greg Blunden.

The foundation has bought two TRX420 Honda Quad Bikes from Allen Motors Northland, Kaikohe Branch, to help trappers and monitors get about more easily and economically.

Pest-free North of Auckland

10,000 hectares of the Tapora/Okahukura peninsula near Wellsford is now under pest management, with a trapping system throughout and possum eradication in the first of four stages. Thus far (only two months), Terry Johnson and Tapora Landcare personnel have caught 18 ferrets, six stoats, five weasels, and sundry rats and hedgehogs whilst establishing the control system.

In the Northern Bay of Islands Kiwi Project, virtually the whole coastal zone east of State Highway 10, Sommerville Road and Kapiro Road, and south of Matauri Bay Road is now under integrated pest management.

This area includes Waiaua Bay, Kauri Cliffs, Takou Bay, Purerua Peninsula and Kerikeri Peninsula within one contiguous area.

There will be a more substantial report on these items in the next newsletter.


Kiwi statistics.

With each newsletter we hope to bring you important or interesting facts about kiwi. If you have a fact you think we'd be interested in please send it to

5 - the reported kiwi killed by cars in the Rangitane, Opito Bay, Matoa Area between January 06 and 28 May 07 (DoC statistics).

8 - the number of years the Kiwi Foundation Charitable Trust has been operational.

15 - the male kiwi has a drawn out clear ascending whistle call repeated 15 to 25 times (*)

100 - the average male bill length (in mm). The sex of an adult kiwi is distinguished by bill length. The average bill length of a female is 130mm.

Although there are regional variations (*)

(*The Field Guide to the Birds of New Zealand, Heather and Robertson, 2005)

Team Kiwi

Team Kiwi

You may have noticed the NZ-wide media coverage last week. Team Kiwi, five students majoring in a public relations degree at Auckland University of Technology (see photo in the last issue), have made raising awareness of the work of the NZ Kiwi Foundation the focus of their final year project.

Team Kiwi produced this publicity campaign which cumulated in a launch at Auckland Zoo on 19th October. Year 5 and 6 students from all over Auckland and Northland helped launch the “Fragile” Kiwi campaign which focuses on the dangers to kiwi from domestic pets - especially those taken on holiday in Kiwi areas. It's the first time the Foundation has held an event of this scale in Auckland.

Team Kiwi at Zoo

Photo above shows: Dr. Greg Blunden and Helen Sissons of the NZ Kiwi Foundation with AUT's Team Kiwi members Krystle Barnes, Sarah Hastie, Caroline Rowe, Siobhan Duffy and Courtney Webb. Photo below shows: Michelle Impey from Bank of NZ Save the Kiwi Trust, the winner of the kiwi poem competition - Alena Kauka from Newmarket school, Siobhan Duffy and Krystle Barnes.

Aroha Island - Public meeting

Aroha island Ecological Centre

1st November 2007

The Centre - Kerikeri at 7pm

Aroha Island Charitable Trust has been formed and after much negotiation with the QEII National Trust has secured the island for the next ten years. But now the Aroha Trust needs your input and contributions to sustain the vision developed from the public meeting at the Centre in February. Find further details on our website or contact Ruth Marsh.

Needed - Bait freezer

We are looking for a donation of a bait freezer - old or new it doesn't matter as long as it is working properly. If anyone is able to donate one to the Kiwi Foundation for the bait used in pest control please contact Gay on 09 407 1119.

NZ Kiwi Foundation Trustees

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

Newsletter - Kiwi PR – Paul & Helen Denny