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New initiative aims to double current kiwi population

kiwinew-487The Northland Regional Council (NRC) Long-Term Plan 2018-2028 has allocated funding for the period to maintain and build on pest control activities within the Brynderwyns, the adjacent land to the north as far as Waipu and to Mangawhai Heads in the south.

This support recognises the enthusiastic efforts of several existing groups working to control and reduce predators, such as stoats, ferrets, weasels, rats and possums. Combined, the project area is approximately 18,000 hectares.

The catalyst was the reintroduction of kiwi at Marunui Conservation in 2013-2015 and their gradual spread in and beyond the Brynderwyns. Coastal South NRC councillor Rick Stolwerk describes the targeted funding as a ‘game changer’.

“It will build capacity, enable specialist predator control contractors, assist kiwi recovery work, encourage new initiatives and support these communities and their volunteers with weed control and pest control in general.”

To facilitate and coordinate the various projects, Piroa-Brynderwyns Landcare has been formed with the encouragement and assistance of NRC’s biosecurity team and Ngaire Tyson, Kiwi Coast Coordinator. The steering group includes Graeme Giles, Ann Neill, Peter Hunt and Bruce Copeland from the Langs Beach/ Waipu area, John Hawley and Jeremy Fleming from Marunui Conservation, and Peter Beaven from The Sanctuary in Mangawhai.

Their vision is ‘Kiwi are seen and heard throughout Piroa’, this being the traditional Maori name for the Brynderwyns as recognised by Patuharakeke Te Iwi and Te Uri o Hau. A five year plan has been drawn up outlining budgets, goals, outcomes and objectives.

By 2023 Piroa-Brynderwyns Landcare aims to double the current kiwi population as measured by annual call count monitoring. The funding enables the present mustelid trap network to be extended into new areas of potential kiwi habitat and will increase community participation and enhance skills via trapper training workshops. In addition responsible dog ownership will be promoted.

A safer habitat for kiwi will benefit all indigenous biodiversity and encourage species such as kaka, bellbird and kakariki to recolonise the area. Piroa-Brynderwyns Landcare is not only about animal pests. Environmentally damaging weed species are also in the spotlight, particularly those with the potential to compromise the natural values of the bush, such as climbing asparagus and wild ginger.

The very successful model used by Weed Action Whangarei Heads will be adopted. n Weed Action PiroaBrynderwyns is up and running with its first event planned for October 14, starting at 9am. The group will hit the wild ginger infestation at the western end of Langs Beach.

Those keen to help should contact aneill.nz@gmail.com

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