Ducks Unlimited
Tuesday, 27 August 2019 09:01

Kiwi call monitoring at Tawharanui

In New Zealand we have our special icon, the Kiwi. This is the only country in the world where Kiwi live. They make their burrows in the undergrowth and enjoy running about searching for worms and spiders.

However, with such a lot of predators now, it is wise to have Kiwi either in a safely fenced or pest monitored area. At Tawharanui we have just that right situation, with the Predator Proof Fence across the Tokatu Point at the termination of Tawharanui Peninsular, giving freedom to all native creatures within.

Kiwi breed around Autumn each year, once they are old enough. This is about two years old. They like to call at twilight which is the two hours after the sun goes down. So Kiwi Call Monitoring  occurs when volunteers sit during those two hours usually 6 – 8pm, in June each year, silently listening for the calls.

Once the first call is heard then a count is  commenced, slowly, sometimes reaching to over 20 times. These are usually the male birds with their shrill high whistles. Then occasionally a  female will call with her lower guttural tones. Sometimes, all is then quiet. Perhaps they have found their mate!

Once the two hours is completed the volunteers collect together again at their base for supper and a chat about their evening event.

Sitting out in the dark at this time can be very cold in New Zealand. So good warm woolly and dry clothing is essential. Usually dry nights with little wind are chosen. The moon is rarely visible. Try it sometime – it’s a thrilling experience!

Patti Williams

 

 

Published in Issue 157
Monday, 22 July 2019 02:52

Hands off our kiwi

It could have lived here for 60 million years!
Those Aussies are trying to steal our things again!

There have been claims that the Kiwi actually originated in Australia.
 
To make it even trickier it was a New Zealander, Trevor Worthy who’s involved with research at Flinders University in Adelaide, who put this theory forward. Four years ago he discovered a fossil at St Bathans in Central Otago, and he says the DNA shows the kiwi are related to the emu. Not the moa as had previously been supposed as the common ancestor.
 
However Department of Conservation bird expert Hugh Robertson said that for more than a decade established thinking was the kiwi was closely related to the emu. But that did not mean it had flown here.
 
He said it could have been in New Zealand since the land split from Gondwanaland about 60 million years ago.
 
 

 

Published in Issue 159
Thursday, 04 April 2019 09:41

Happy Birthday Manukura

Three years ago staff at Pukaha Mount Bruce had a huge surprise when a kiwi egg hatched and out came a pure white kiwi!

Manukura is a very special white kiwi, and she turned 3 on May 3 this year.

A month of celebration activities was arranged. As well as a daily Manukura ‘fact hunt’ through the reserve there were a number of activities every weekend during that month.

Thanks to the Ten O Clock Cookie Bakery & Cafe in Masterton, there was a huge birthday cake in the kiwi house with a slice for every visitor. 

Footnote: I called in to Pukaha Mount Bruce for a sneaky look at Manukura as she slowly walked around her enclosure in the kiwi house. Carefully she inserted her beak deep into the ground searching for worms and other tasty morsels. She is a big girl now and well worth a visit.

PS. The café at Pukaha has undergone a change and is now called Wild Café - new management but same staff –same delicious coffee and food.

Liz Brook

Manukura – a kiwi that flies

Wairarapa residents travelling around New Zealand and/or the world are being encouraged to take a Manukura soft toy with them. The idea is to take photos and send them back to the local newspaper. Of course you need to purchase a Manukura soft toy. 

Check with Helen at Pukaha Mount Bruce [This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.] and she will arrange to send you one.

If you are keen and have a Manukura toy with you, send your photos to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.  The best photo will win a $1000 prize courtesy of a Masterton travel agency.

Published in Issue 160
Monday, 19 March 2018 07:19

Unique kiwi

Kindara, the uniquely ginger coloured kiwi chick at his stoat-proof weight was released back into the wild. 
 
The ginger Kiwi has unique colouring and this tickled the fancy of red head Emma Bean who works at the Rainbow Springs Kiwi Encounter where Kindara’s egg was incubated and hatched. Emma made the trip to Ohakune for Kindara’s release to the wild on the Karioi Rahui on the southern side of Mt Ruapehu.
 
Also at the release were students from Tauhara College, Kindara’s sponsors. They watched Kindara’s journey as he was raised at Rainbow Springs, and gained naming rights through the National Kiwi Trust. They visited Kindara in Rotorua after he hatched, and were there to welcome him to crèche at the Wairakei Golf + Sanctuary, Taupo in November. Two students helped the DOC Kiwi team catch Kindara at Wairakei, and a group went to the forest for Kindara’s release.
 
Tauhara student Tegan Clark said, “Through Kindara’s sponsorship, the students know more about the kiwi and their plight, and the efforts going towards saving kiwi.”Kindara is one of an estimated 70,000 kiwi left in New Zealand. He’s one of the lucky ones with a very good chance of survival thanks to a great collaborative effort.
 
“This is what saving kiwi is all about – inspiring future generations to care for our native species,” said Kiwis for Kiwi executive director Michelle Impey.
 
To learn about how to help save kiwi, or to make a secure on line donation, visit Kiwis for Kiwi.
 
 

 

Published in Issue 164
Monday, 19 March 2018 07:06

Kiwi deaths at Pukaha

Kiwi deaths at Pukaha
 
We are saddened to let you know that we are currently dealing with a suspected ferret incursion at Pukaha with the death of 7 kiwi (3 juvenile and 4 adult) since March 2015. The juvenile kiwi deaths include the two white kiwi hatched in the wild in February this year. 
 
The Department of Conservation, which looks after predator control at Pukaha, has stepped up its trapping regime and consulted a number of experts, both within DoC and the wider predator control community, to ensure everything possible is being done to stop this predation event. This includes changing the type of bait in traps and the frequency that the traps are serviced.
 
While this event is without doubt a setback, we are confident that the predator control programme in place throughout the reserve and in the buffer zone around it will continue to make our unfenced reserve as safe as possible for our birds.
 
While the programme gives kiwi and other native species the best possible start, we cannot ensure their complete safety and have to accept that there will always be losses.
 
The sad loss of these kiwi has been a blow to our staff and the Pukaha community. Kiwi have a precarious existence and there will always be loss of life as has been seen in fenced and unfenced predator-protected reserves in New Zealand.  It makes us even more determined to continue with our long-term aim of a self-sustaining kiwi population at Pukaha.
 
Since the Pukaha Forest Restoration project  began in 2002, 3 endangered native bird species have been successfully reintroduced and are thriving – North Island Brown Kiwi, North Island Kaka and North Island Kokako.
 
We are grateful for your ongoing support.
 
Helen Tickner General Manager.
 
Published in Issue 164
Monday, 04 September 2017 00:31

Out there for the Long Haul

One of our DUNZ directors featured recently in an issue of the National Farming Review. That person is Dan Steel of Blue Duck Station. The writer was none other than Lou Sanson, Director-General of the Department of Conservation.
 
Dan was eager to point out that Blue Duck Station is 100 percent effective. Every square metre does its bit for biodiversity in one way or another, be it pasture, native bush, wetland, river bank or the sites housing beehives.
Mr Sanson says DOC cannot achieve all its conservation targets alone and he therefore considers Dan Steele as one of the enthusiasts contributing to DOC’s 2025 targets for pest management and attracting international visitors. As most DU members will know, Dan has his own freehold property along with a family lease that covers 2800 ha. This farmed area carries 5400 breeding ewes, 1000 hoggets, 100 deer, 330 breeding cows and 470 other cattle.
However it is the blue duck (Whio) and kiwi populations on which Dan has focused efforts for the last 10 years. After losing a brood of ducklings he quickly set about organising an efficient pest control programme. Pest control is only part of the answer as flooding streams and rivers mean the Whio nests and eggs can easily be washed away. Dan recovers eggs and sends them to incubate at nest egg facilities. After hatching they go to DOC’s blue duck hardening facility at Turangi, and eventually return to the river. Dan said the Whio are still only holding their own, though kiwi numbers are increasing.
 
(The above material are excerpts from the original story in the December issue of National Farming Review,
written by Lou Sanson, Director General, DOC).
Published in Issue 170