Stage one – stocking kōhanga
Step one – catching wild kiwi

Rua the kiwi dog with her handler

The first step to stocking kōhanga sites is to raise more kiwi chicks, and to do this, we need to lift more eggs from the wild. This is done by first finding wild kiwi and attaching a transmitter to their leg so that we can identify when they are incubating an egg.

Finding kiwi in the wild is no easy task, and is done in collaboration with kiwi conservation groups and specialist teams with kiwi finding dogs. The process begins with kiwi call listening to identify areas where kiwi are present.

Call count monitoring gear

The essentials for a night out in the bush listening for kiwi calls.

The dog teams then go into the bush during the day to narrow the search and find recent kiwi activity, or evidence of kiwi in nests.

Tui, the conservation dog, indicating that she has found a kiwi burrow.

Tui, the conservation dog, indicating that she has found a kiwi burrow.

The teams return to the bush at night, without their dogs. They use kiwi calls to encourage the kiwi to come to them and then attempt to catch them when they approach. Kiwi can be quite fast when they want to be so catching them is no mean feat! Once a kiwi has been caught, a transmitter is attached to its leg and it is then released back into the bush.

Transmitter being attached to a kiwi's leg.

Transmitter being attached to a kiwi’s leg.

Ideally, teams try to find male kiwi as it is them who will incubate the eggs, but if a female is found, we can still attach a transmitter and monitor her to find her mate.

=> Step two – monitoring.