A baby kiwi raised at Aroha Island Ecological Centre, Kerikeri, is to be released at the country's most exclusive golf course - Kauri Cliffs - by New Zealand's most famous golfer - Michael Campbell - at the hole named after him.
Kapai, a 6-month old brown male kiwi, was raised by Gay Blunden of the New Zealand Kiwi Foundation after being found in an effluent drain on a dairy farm, weighing less than 300 grams.
“Kapai is a “stroppy” kiwi that now weighs over 1400 grams” said Gay Blunden. “We are confident that he is big enough to survive well in the wild, within a managed area such as Kauri Cliffs”.
He will join the colony of over 20 kiwi resident at Waiaua Bay Farm, the location of the Kauri Cliffs resort near Matauri Bay ranked the 58th best golf course in the world. In preparation for the release, the New Zealand Kiwi Foundation has overseen the pest management system operated by Darcy Rhodes.
“This is a rare event - most kiwi that are found are dead. In this case, a baby kiwi has been saved from almost certain death by stoats or cats. It is critical that kiwi are released back into the wild only in places where comprehensive pest control is in place and it is actively promoted by the landowners, such as at Kauri Cliffs.” said Dr Greg Blunden Convenor of the NZ Kiwi Foundation. “Private landowners must be involved fully in enhancing our remaining kiwi population because most kiwi in Far North District live on private land rather than the DoC estate.”
The release of Kapai the kiwi is part of the New Zealand Kiwi Foundation's drive to encourage private land owners to protect kiwis on their property through setting up and supporting pest management schemes which sensitively manage the land.
Julian Robertson, the owner of Kauri Cliff's Resort, said: "Be sure this kiwi will not be lonesome for long. We believe there are at least 20 kiwis in the area close by his release site at Kauri Cliffs. We are thrilled to be part of this project and we fully hope these efforts will result in kiwis roaming the forests of Northland in the numbers they did in years gone by."