Eat a kiwi to do your bit to save a kiwi

Kapi-Mana News - - FRONT PAGE - CHELSEA MCLAUGH­LIN

In­dulging in choco­late and know­ing you’re do­ing your bit to help New Zealand’s most iconic crea­ture is a sure way to make this Easter guilt-free.

This is the sec­ond year of Whittaker’s Choco­late Kiwi, which will con­trib­ute a min­i­mum of $80,000 to Ki­wis for kiwi’s Op­er­a­tion Nest Egg.

This ini­tia­tive raises vul­ner­a­ble new­born kiwi in a safe en­vi­ron­ment un­til they reach a ‘‘stoat-proof’’ weight of about 1000 grams, af­ter which they are re­leased into preda­tor-con­trolled ar­eas.

Ki­wis for kiwi ex­ec­u­tive di­rec­tor Michelle Im­pey says the av­er­age cost of get­ting a kiwi through its first year of life is $12,000.

Op­er­a­tion Nest Egg has been suc­cess­ful in grow­ing kiwi num­bers, with about 200 re­turned to the wild each year. The op­er­a­tion is on track to help turn the 2 per cent de­cline in kiwi pop­u­la­tions each year into a 2 per cent in­crease, Im­pey says.

‘‘It re­ally makes a dif­fer­ence - last year we were able to save 66 more kiwi than we would oth­er­wise have been able to - en­abling us to get closer to reach­ing our goals for kiwi pop­u­la­tion growth,’’ she said.

Op­er­a­tion Nest Egg is used to get kiwi eggs into spe­cific sites where the chicks can then grow up and find part­ners with­out the threat from preda­tors.

These sites will even­tu­ally reach ca­pac­ity, which is when Ki­wis for kiwi will move some to cre­ate new pop­u­la­tions in the wild.

Im­pey says peo­ple of­ten feel help­less, par­tic­u­larly when look­ing at other an­i­mal causes glob­ally.

‘‘With kiwi, peo­ple ac­tu­ally have them in their back­yards. They can be hands on and make a dif­fer­ence. Welling­ton is quite in­cred­i­ble with its preda­tor-free ini­tia­tive. Even though [Welling­to­ni­ans] don’t nec­es­sar­ily have kiwi in their back­yards, they could one day.’’

Whittaker’s mar­ket­ing man­ager Holly Whittaker says the Porirua-based com­pany has al­ways done one large char­i­ta­ble ac­tiv­ity a year, and Ki­wis for kiwi ticked all the boxes.

‘‘We’re a New Zealand fam­ily com­pany ... we chose a kiwi Easter shape as a unique kiwi icon and that re­ally res­onates with our brand val­ues. There was a nat­u­ral fit for us to sup­port Ki­wis for kiwi and help ki­wis live on in the gen­er­a­tions to come.’’

A 10-day-old kiwi chick sits among Whittaker’s Choco­late Kiwi - funds from which will go to­wards kiwi-rear­ing ini­tia­tives.

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