Stage one – stocking kōhanga
Step five – relocating chicks to kōhanga

Sir Graham Henry releasing a kiwi chick

At around three weeks old, when they are eating properly and are fit and healthy, chicks can be moved to a kōhanga site. These are either predator-free islands or fully-fenced mainland sites where kiwi chicks are safe from their main predators – stoats.

Paul, from Kiwis for kiwi, putting the precious kiwi chick cargo on the boat to Motutapu Island.

Paul, from Kiwis for kiwi, putting the precious kiwi chick cargo on the boat to Motutapu Island.

There are four different types, or taxa, of North Island brown kiwi, which is the species we are working with in the Saving the Kiwi strategy, and these are all managed separately. This means that they have different kōhanga sites.

Coromandel brown kiwi use Motutapu Island; Western brown kiwi use Sanctuary Mountain Maungatautari and we are working to identify suitable kōhanga for Northland brown kiwi and Eastern brown kiwi.

Kiwi are often welcomed into new domains with a powhiri (welcome ceremony) to maintain the kaitiakitanga (guardianship) between iwi.

Kiwi are often welcomed into new domains with a powhiri (welcome ceremony) to maintain the kaitiakitanga (guardianship) between iwi.

As kōhanga are bound by either water or fence, they have a limit to the number of kiwi that they can hold, considering the size of territory each bird needs. Stage one of the Saving the Kiwi strategy will be completed when each kōhanga reaches its capacity, which we aim to do by 2022. Then it’s on to stage two.

Tahi, the kiwi chick, being released into a ready-made burrow at Sanctuary Mountain Maungatautari.

Tahi, the kiwi chick, being released into a ready-made burrow at Sanctuary Mountain Maungatautari.

=> Stage two.