Three kiwi re­leased in Tu­tukaka

Whangarei Report - - NEWS -

The kiwi pop­u­la­tion on the Tu­tukaka Coast is ex­pand­ing with three new birds re­leased into the area and news that an ear­lier kiwi re­leased there is sit­ting on an egg.

Tu­tukaka Coast’s wild kiwi pop­u­la­tion has been en­riched with a fur­ther three birds re­leased at Tawapou Farm near Mat­apouri late last month.

The re­lease came just as lo­cal con­ser­va­tion vol­un­teers con­firmed that a male kiwi re­leased nearby two years ago has at last found a mate and be­gun the long process of in­cu­bat­ing an egg.

More than 150 peo­ple turned out to the lat­est re­lease which be­gan with a karakia and wel­come to vis­i­tors, in­clud­ing a group of keen iwi vol­un­teers who had trav­elled from Warawara in the North Hokianga.

Tu­tukaka Land­care Coali­tion co­or­di­na­tor Mike Camm said lo­cals were thrilled to wel­come the three new kiwi to Tu­tukaka.

“It may be a bit of a wha- nau re­u­nion as they are likely to meet up with some of their cousins pre­vi­ously re­leased here over the years,” Camm said.

“The karakia be­side the re­lease bur­rows gave all of us there a sense of the sig­nif­i­cance of place and time of these pre­cious taonga.”

The Tu­tukaka Coali­tion, which is part of the greater North­land-wide Kiwi Coast project, has ex­tended its preda­tor trap­ping regime to cover around 10,000 hectares of lo­cal coast and hin­ter­land. An­nual kiwi call count mon­i­tor­ing con­firms that kiwi num­bers in this area are steadily ris­ing.

The three re­leased kiwi were grad­u­ates of the Matakohe-lime­stone Is­land kiwi cre` che in the Whanga- rei har­bour.

One of the birds re­leased was given the name Fomli af­ter the com­mu­nity group that man­ages the is­land cre` che — Friends of Matakohe Lime­stone Is­land.

An­other was called Kim and the third was named Harry, per­haps in­flu­enced by the faint hint of red­ness that in the right light­ing can be seen in the pat­tern of his North­land brown kiwi feath­ers.

All three birds were fit­ted with small ra­dio trans­mit­ters that will al­low lo­cal vol­un­teers to track their move­ments as they set­tle into their new sur­rounds.

PHOTO / MAL­COLM PULLMAN, PHO­TOS.NZ

Han­dler Emma Craig (Matakohe-lime­stone Is­land Ranger) shows Fomli the kiwi to the crowd.

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