As our national bird, kiwi hold a special place in our hearts. We’re proud to use its image as a symbol to represent New Zealand and to be known as Kiwis. But we all know that recent history hasn’t been kind to kiwi.
For the past 130 years, introduced pests and predators, particularly stoats, have been decimating our kiwi population. At the beginning of the 20th century, there were millions of kiwi. Today, it’s estimated that we have around 67,500 left.
It’s not all bad news though. We’ve slowed the decline in the past 20 years and kiwi populations in some very well-managed areas are beginning to grow again, which is great news.
But here’s the even better news. This is a defining moment for kiwi. We now have the knowledge and the tools to take kiwi off the endangered list and start to grow kiwi populations everywhere.
In the past 18 months, there have been a few major developments in kiwi conservation that make the future look much brighter for our national bird.
Last year, a report by Landcare Research was released outlining what would be need to be done to increase kiwi populations by 2% each year.
Prior to this report, the focus of kiwi conservationists had been to stop the decline of kiwi. The new focus of the report, to increase kiwi numbers, has given those of us working in kiwi conservation a renewed vigour, energy and urgency.
At Kiwis for kiwi, our vision has always been to take kiwi from endangered to everywhere. This ambitious goal is now one step closer to being accomplished.
Following the report, the New Zealand Treasury announce a funding package of $11.2 million for kiwi conservation over four years. Kiwis for kiwi will receive $3.5 million of this four-year package to support work carried out by community-, iwi-, whānau- and hapū-led kiwi conservation groups.
The remaining funding will be used by the Department of Conservation to fund kiwi conservation work on Crown land. Kiwi don’t recognise boundaries between publicly and privately owned land so this coordinated effort is essential to protect their habitat.
In July this year, the New Zealand Government announced its intention to make New Zealand predator free by 2050, with a further investment of $28 million to help make this possible.
The boost in funding and renewed focus for both Government agencies and community-led kiwi conservation efforts is all good news for kiwi. The tide is turning. Momentum is growing, but we can’t sit back and relax just yet.
The Government funding is just a portion of what is needed to increase kiwi numbers and we need to ensure that we have enough kiwi alive to benefit from a predator-free environment in 2050.
To do that, we need your help. Across the country, community-led kiwi conservation group volunteers dedicate thousands of hours to protecting our national icon. But they can’t do it alone. They need help to buy equipment like traps, transmitters and telemetry equipment and services such as kiwi dog surveying, skilled trappers and Operation Nest Egg services.
Kiwis for kiwi provides funding for these essentials, as well as advice, guidance and advocacy at a national level.
As our name says, we are Kiwis for kiwi. We’re asking Kiwis from all walks of life, from all areas of the globe to come together to help protect kiwi.
$100 is enough to protect a kiwi for a whole year. Please join us by making a donation today to make sure we can proudly call ourselves Kiwis for generations to come.