Conservation leaders dedicated to saving our national icon have been recognised at the inaugural Kiwi Awards, held at the annual National Kiwi Hui in Lyttelton.

Inaugural Kiwi Awards Celebrate Leaders In Kiwi Conservation - Header Image

The awards were created by Kiwis for kiwi, an independent charity that supports hundreds of volunteers and private landowners all over the country in their work to protect kiwi and their natural habitat.

Executive director of Kiwis for kiwi, Michelle Impey, said the awards were created to acknowledge and thank the people and organisations who have contributed significantly to kiwi conservation.

“For more than 20 years we’ve been working with thousands of volunteers and community projects that continue to work towards a predator free and safe environment for kiwi.  These passionate and dedicated people are fundamental to achieving our goal of increasing the kiwi population by 2% and we wanted to celebrate the amazing work being done.  The time, skills, money and enthusiasm invested by individuals, kiwi conservation projects and businesses that support kiwi conservation, is invaluable,” said Ms Impey.

The winners:

Tohu Tiketike – Kiwi Project of the Year:  Friends of Flora (Nelson / Tasman)

This award recognises a kiwi conservation project that has made an outstanding contribution to kiwi conservation either at a national or regional level.

Founded in 2010, Friends of Flora’s goal was to re-establish roroa / great spotted kiwi in the Flora catchment of Kahurangi National Park.  As part of the project, a 10,000ha area of stoat trapping networks is managed by volunteers and not only benefits kiwi but also other endangered species such as whio, kaka and kea.

Friends of Flora was successful in its goal, and is the only roroa re-establishment project to have created a sustainable population which is now estimated at more than 45 birds.  Through ongoing monitoring the project has collected valuable data which assists the current and future management of the species and which has been shared with DOC and other roroa projects.  The project has contributed substantially to the understanding of the ecology of this relatively poorly known kiwi species and ongoing Facebook posts, reaching thousands of people, have helped bring visibility to this shy species which few people see.


Mana Tiaki- Mana Kiwi – Arapata Reuben <Christchurch>

This award recognises leadership in kaitiakitanga practices within conservation management that support kaupapa kiwi.

Arapata has been a dedicated member of the Kiwi Recovery Group for eight years, representing Ngai Tahu.  The quietly spoken man avoids the limelight but is fiercely passionate about South Island kiwi and iwi-led conservation.  Highly respected by his peers Arapata has helped bring the iwi perspective kaitiakitangi (guardianship) to kiwi conservation at a national level and has introduced new thinking to conservation groups around the country.

As a member of the Kiwi Recovery Group, based in Christchurch,  Arapata has brought both the wider perspectives of tangata whenua and of Ngai Tahu into the discussions and writing of the soon to be released 2018-2028 Kiwi Recovery Plan.  He has gone beyond his role as a representative of Ngai Tahu to help support other iwi in their understanding of technical kiwi issues, has helped support several rununga with kiwi management and education, has been a part of the Arthur’s Pass Kiwi Project committee and has spent time volunteering to help with kiwi work throughout Te Waipounamu.



Good Egg awards were given to one volunteer working with each of the kiwi species:

Good Egg  – Northland Brown kiwi – awarded to Kevin and Gill Adshead, Mataia Restoration Project, Kaipara.

Kevin and Gill Adshead established the Mataia Restoration project in 2006 on their 1300 hectare working farm, with the aim of re-establishing the ecological values of the area and provide a safe place for kiwi to thrive.  Working with the Auckland Council, community, school groups and local Iwi, Ngati Whatua O Kaipara, they have carried out extensive restoration work, including building an eight kilometre fence, planting of native trees and pest control.  The culmination of their efforts was the first release of kiwi into the project in 2013, marking the return of kiwi to the Kaipara, where they had been absent for decades.

Ongoing support from the local community with predator control and fund raising has been critical to this project.

Good Egg – Coromandel Brown kiwi –  Lettecia Williams, Moehau Enviornment Group, Coromandel Peninsula

Lettecia Williams has been focussed on conservation of the Coromandel Brown kiwi for nearly 20 years, both on her personal 70ha Port Charles property and more broadly for Moehau Environment Group.  She has rallied landowners in the Moehau area, developing a co-ordinated pest control programme to eliminate predators of kiwi and other native species across nearly 8,000ha.   The property now has some of the highest kiwi densities on the Coromandel and provides kiwi for breeding programmes on Motutapu Island.

Good Egg – Eastern Brown kiwi – Sheryl Peterson, Otanewainuku Kiwi Trust, Western Bay of Plenty

Sheryl’s passion began in 2003 when she joined the Otanewainuku Kiwi Trust as a volunteer, clearing and marking trap lines.  She progressed to running toxin programmes for control of rats and possums, and joined the kiwi monitoring team, carrying out health checks, transmitter changes and egg lifts as part of the Operation Nest Egg national programme.  She now manages the Otanewainuku Forest kiwi programme and is devoted to the recovery of kiwi

The Trust was established in 2002 after a survey revealed brown kiwi numbers within Otanewainuku  Forest had dropped sharply, due to predation.  Now the 1000 hectares is host to a growing kiwi breeding population. (Estimated at 20 kiwi.)

Good Egg – Western Brown kiwi – Darren Peters, volunteer with East Taranaki Environment Trust (Purangi Kiwi Project), Ruahine (Makaroro), Capital Kiwi and Rimutaka Kiwi Project

As well as being Technical Advisor, Threats at Department of Conservation, over the past 20 years Darren has been fiercely dedicated to lending his expertise to many kiwi projects around the country.  He not only runs trapping workshops but spends hours of his personal time in the field, planning with various groups, baiting trap lines, troubleshooting and ensuring that every region he works with has the best possible chance of success.   He is also the guy that will rally groups of volunteers, organise transportation and, if you forget your lunch, he will always have a spare sandwich.

Good Egg – Roroa/great spotted kiwi – Robin and Sandy Toy (Nelson)

Robin and Sandy have been unwavering in their contribution to the current and future survival of roroa.  They led the very successful Friends of Flora kiwi reintroduction project over the last seven years which was responsible for successfully returning a founding population of roroa (great spotted kiwi) to the Flora.    The success of this is marked by the fact that the kiwi are breeding, and their young surviving.  Transmitters have now been removed from the kiwi and they are being left to thrive and grow.  But Robin and Sandy’s contribution extends well beyond the borders of the Friends of Flora protection area.  They have also undertaken a major study of roroa in the North West Nelson area accumulating data from over 750 sites which will provide valuable information in the future planning for the species’ survival.  This information has been incorporated into the species management plan for roroa which they drafted. This plan provides a roadmap into the future of how to turn around the decline and start growing their numbers.

Good Egg – Tokoeka – Stewart Island/Rakiura Community and Environment Trust

The award was given to the entire team for their commitment to protecting Stewart Island’s tokoeka population.  From running kiwi avoidance training programmes for local and visiting bach owners’ dogs to predator control, conservation advocacy engagement for visiting schools and their supreme efforts in the kitchen baking goodies for the annual Great Kiwi Morning Tea, Kiwis for kiwi’s annual fundraiser.


Community corporate sponsor of the Year:  Pacific Collections (Tauranga)

Wholesaler and distributor of Wild Kiwi clothing, Pacific Collections, received the award of Community corporate sponsor for their strong commitment to, and support of, Otanewainuku Kiwi Trust.

Pacific Collections have been sponsoring the Otanewainuku Kiwi Trust for five years. Each year the relationship has continued to develop and has now become a significant “value add” for both parties. Pacific Collections has led that development always looking for new and creative ways to support the project. Aside from cash donations Pacific Collections donate prizes for “volunteer thank you days”, gift Wild Kiwi branded clothing to the hard working kiwi team and encourage their staff to attend field-work days. Two years ago Pacific Collections launched a new bandana with a contribution to Otanewainuku Kiwi Trust coming from each unit sold. This initiative has been a huge success with over $10,000 donated to the project in the last 12 months alone. The product promotion does more than just provide critical funds, it also raises awareness about the critical kiwi conservation work being undertaken at Otanewainuku.


Kiwi conservation image of the year:  Joint winners: Tara Swan – Pukaha Mount Bruce National Wildlife Centre and Ruedi Mosimman

Tara Swan – Tara captures the ever-changing flora and fauna in the Forest at Pukaha. She has built a strong following on the Pukaha Instagram page and is sharing New Zealand’s Conservation story globally.

Ruedi Mosimann’s image captures the nature of great spotted kiwi. It marks a major milestone in Friends of Flora’s project to re-establish roroa – the removal of transmitters after eight years monitoring. The feet belong to feisty Iwa who is notoriously difficult to catch. This year when Robin Toy went to remove Iwa’s last transmitter was no different to other occasions, evidenced by the state of Robin’s hands.  No more captures for you now Iwa – may your offspring be just as feisty. Go well!

The inaugural Kiwi Awards were part of the Kiwis for kiwi annual ‘kiwi hui’ which was attended by Department of Conservation, community kiwi conservation groups, research centres and incubation and breeding facilities.