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Case study - Kiwi management around Ohiwa Harbour

The Whakatane Kiwi Project

The Whakatane Kiwi Project is enormously successful. Since 1999, when four breeding pairs were found by the Department of Conservation in the Ohope reserves, 173 North Island brown kiwi chicks have been raised or released back into the Ohope and Whakatane reserves, and the adjacent Ngati Awa Farm. This is the only place in the country where kiwi live in such numbers so close to an urban area.

OhiwakiwiThe Project aims to ensure that kiwi thrive and prosper in the Whakatane district by restoring kiwi populations through public support and landowner co-operation. The Project manages kiwi in the Whakatane area under a memorandum of understanding between DOC and the Bay of Plenty Regional Council. The Project works on joint DOC, Ngati Awa and Whakatane District Council administered land (Ohope Scenic Reserve, Moutohora Island, Mokorua Scenic Reserve and Kohi Point Scenic Reserve), private forestry land (Waiotahe), Maori Trust land (Wainui, Omataroa) and other private land (Wainui).

There have been many contributors to the success of the Project. One of the most significant contributions is the 'hands on' management undertaken by current project manager, Bridget Palmer, her predecessors and hundreds of volunteers who control predators, such as possums, rodents, mustelids and cats, and monitor the kiwi in the core protection areas of the Whakatane and Ohope reserves.

Another contributor to the Project's success is the unique partnership supporting it. This partnership involves Ngati Awa, Bay of Plenty Regional Council, the Department of Conservation, Whakatane District Council, and the BNZ Save the Kiwi Trust. The Whakatane Kiwi Trust oversees the project and carries out fundraising, corporate sponsorship, volunteer and education programmes.

Bridget has found, through tracking the kiwi by GPS, that many of the birds are migrating south from Whakatane and Ohope as far as Stanley Road and sometimes beyond. Bridget has worked closely with several landowners, foresters and residents in these areas, so that kiwi are afforded greater protection in their travels. Long term, the Project hopes to bring more landowners on board and extend predator control activities to their land, so that kiwi have safe havens all around Ohiwa.