(Published on 6th March 2017)
Two wild kiwi – named Geoff and Charlie - were the star attractions at a Kiwi Coast Gathering held in Northland on Sunday March 5.
The gathering was held to thank those involved in the Kiwi Coast initiative for their hard work and to celebrate the increasing numbers of wild kiwi present in eastern Northland.
Ngaire Tyson, Kiwi Coast Coordinator for the NZ Landcare Trust says the kiwi event held at Fonterra’s Jordan Valley Farm at Hikurangi provided an opportunity for people working on the Kiwi Coast Project to see kiwi.
“Kiwi as we know only come out at night. Most of the people involved in the Kiwi Coast don’t get to see the special birds that they’re working hard to protect,” said Ngaire. “This event gave them a chance to see kiwi up close and to experience the magic of this taonga.”
The kiwi called Geoff was named after Geoff Wightman who founded the Waimate North Landcare Trust almost 20 years ago, to help their kiwi, native wildlife and forests thrive on approximately 9,000ha of prime farm land.
“Geoff Wightman passed away a year ago this month. The trust has named this kiwi Geoff to honour him and his wife Pat in recognition for their many years of conservation work. Naming and meeting this kiwi was a very special moment for us,” says Daryl Way, Chairman of the Waimate North Landcare Trust.
The two kiwi were released into a predator controlled area created by the Tanekaha Community Pest Control Group, led by Edwin Smith. The community controls stoats and other predators that kill kiwi over 800 hectares of farmland, native bush and pine forest.
The Tanekaha Community Pest Control Group is one of 83 entities working together as the Kiwi Coast to help kiwi thrive in Northland. .
Data collated by the Kiwi Coast from projects, groups and organisations involved showed that around $1.75 million dollars worth of resources went into participating projects in 2016. Over a third of this is accounted for by unpaid voluntary labour.
Northland Regional Councillor, Joce Yeoman said “There is a phenomenal amount of unpaid work being done in Northland every day. We need to ensure these hard working people are acknowledged and celebrated as they’re vital to the ongoing success of our community pest control projects.”
The Kiwi Coast entities include community-led conservation projects, iwi and hapu, forestry companies, farmers, schools, DOC, Northland Regional Council and other organisations with a shared vision of increasing kiwi numbers in Northland. By working together and linking pest controlled areas, kiwi will once again be safe to roam freely in Northland.
Department of Conservation (DOC) Northern North Island Operators Director Sue Reed-Thomas, says the Kiwi Coast Project is a great example of the conservation gains we can make if we work together.
“Our monitoring shows kiwi numbers are either stable or increasing in the areas where the 83 entities in the Kiwi Coast Project are controlling the predators that kill kiwi. Kiwi numbers are falling in areas where there’s no predator control.”
“Having more than 80 entities working together is helping kiwi survive and thrive in more than 120,000 hectares of Northland kiwi habitat. This shows we can achieve far more together than we can alone.”
This Kiwi Coast event was funded by the Fonterra DOC Living Water partnership, Reconnecting Northland and Kiwis for Kiwi.
Living Water North Island Programme Manager Tim Brandenburg says the partnership supports the Tanekaha Community Pest Control Group which is led by local farmers.
“The Tanekaha farmers live and work in one of the five Living Water catchments where we’re working to show that sustainable dairying and healthy ecosystems can exist alongside each other.”
“The work these farmers are doing to control predators that kill kiwi is a great example of the conservation work Living Water supports in our five catchments, which are spread from Northland to Southland.”
The two kiwi at the event – Geoff and Charlie– were handled by accredited Kiwi Handlers Todd Hamilton from the Backyard Kiwi project and Pete Graham, Biosecurity Officer with the Northland Regional Council.
For further information contact Ngaire Tyson
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