Four adult kiwi have made a planned escape from their managed isolation on an island in the Whangarei harbour to a luxurious lifestyle on the Tutukaka Coast.
All four kiwi had spent time on the “kiwi creche” of Matakohe (Limestone) Island where kiwi chicks that have been rescued from life threatening situations in the wild are able to develop into mature birds capable of defending themselves against stoats and cats.
The lucky birds were welcomed to Tawapou farm on Sunday by nearly 300 visitors who had a chance to see the birds close up before they were released into the wild.
They are now part of a long term project to enhance a residual wild kiwi population under the guidance of the Tutukaka Landcare Coalition which traps predators – mainly stoats and feral cats – over 11,000 hectares of the coast.
The crowd who came to see the kiwi were welcomed by Nikki Davis-Colley on behalf of the Tawapou Conservation Trust and by Kris McDonald from Te Whanau a Rangiwhakaahu of Ngati Wai.
They were then treated to a presentation by Kiwi guru Todd Hamilton about the vagaries of kiwi and what is needed to make sure they readily survive in our landscape.
One of the visitors later said Todd’s talk was spectacular in the way he described the situation for kiwi and what is needed to ensure their survival: “Thanks very much for a rare and special treat for us visiting the area”.