The Harataunga Kiwi Project began in mid-2005. It is possible thanks to members of Ngati Porou ki Harataunga and Raukatauri a Huarere, at the northern end of the Bay, agreeing to allow the project to proceed on their ancestral lands.
Today the project co-ordinator is John Rabarts, secretary and elected member of Te Runanga o Ngati Porou ki Hauraki, while field operations are overseen by Quentin Potae, an elected Runanga executive member. Conrad Ngapo, of Kennedy Bay, oversees the Coromandel Area School students who service stoat trap lines and are now building stoat boxes.
The Harataunga BNZ Kiwi Project aims to increase:
- Survival rates of kiwi chicks and to reintroduce kiwi chicks to Kennedy Bay
- Awareness of Kennedy Bay’s kiwi among iwi and the general public.
- The number of dogs which have received avoidance training, with twice-yearly training provided.
- The participation of Ngati Porou ki Harataunga in conservation matters within its tribal area of Kennedy Bay.
The project also wants to create skilled workers able to build, maintain, and repair stoat boxes.
John says a goal is to establish and maintain an extensive stoat, ferret and weasel-free zone and to significantly reduce rat numbers.
Size of Area under Protection
The Harataunga BNZ Kiwi project covers all of the catchments flowing into Kennedy Bay, from Anarake Point to the east of the Bay, through the Harataunga stream and tributaries systems to the Mangatu-Mataiterangi Valleys. The area is approximately 4,300 hectares of mainly established bush with some areas of recently regenerating bush and some scrubland. It sits at the southern border of the Moehau Environment Group’s kiwi zone.
The project is committed to involving local residents, and provides them with the necessary skills to cut tracks, do animal pest control, repair and maintain traps and look to opportunities to restore native species.
Workers are currently employed to service and maintain more than 400 stoat traps each month, and also maintain the access tracks. Monthly catch rates are 80–100 rats, and 12–15 stoats, with an occasional weasel.
John says the Project is firming up a regime of regular and supportive checks and independent audits of the on-the-ground work.
The biggest success of the Harataunga BNZ Kiwi Project has been to establish a four-way agreement between Te Runanga O Ngati Porou ki Harataunga, the Department of Conservation, the Moehau Environment Group and Coromandel Area School. Together, the sanctuaries managed by these four groups provide continuous protection for kiwi more than 30,000 hectares of land at the northern tip of the Coromandel Peninsula.
As part of the arrangement, the Project can access support and technical advice from DOC, operational advice from the Moehau Environment Group, and financial and administrative support from the Harataunga Marae Trustees and Te Runanga o Ngati Porou ki Hauraki.
Since June 2011, one of the Project’s crucial stoat lines has been serviced by students from Coromandel Area School. John says students also maintain their own newly-established lines which run from the Project’s range-top line down to the bush boundaries just above Coromandel township.
He says an extract from the September 2011 school newsletter reflects the involvement and commitment of teacher and students:
“Our focus turned from fishing to hunting in term two, and here we are in term three, currently building 100 stoat traps for Ngati Porou ki Hauraki, and the Department of Conservation, in conjunction with BNZ. Thanks must go to John Rabarts from NPKH for supplying the materials for these traps. To add to this, we are also monitoring a number of CAS Kiwi Care stoat lines, and so far have caught 5 stoats and 10 rats. Hopefully, when our next lot of traps get out there, we can catch a lot more. If there is anyone interested in getting involved, please contact the school, as we are always looking for volunteers to help re-set the traps with new bait (we have been using eggs, but this month are trying dried salted Rabbit…Mmmm. Yummy!)”
The project has also increased local people’s awareness of the plight of kiwi on the Coromandel, and the need to look after Harataunga’s remaining native bushlands.
When it began in 2005, the Harataunga Kiwi Project received start-up funding from Kiwis for kiwi and Environment Waikato to buy 340 stoat traps. That was supplemented in ensuing years by another 60 traps. From September 2011, a further 100 traps, built by Coromandel Area School student group, were installed in one new area and also used to expand an existing area which had only been sparsely covered with stoat traps.
Over the years the project has been supported by Te Runanga o Ngati Porou ki Hauraki, Harataunga Marae Trustees and Kiwis for kiwi. John says that for two years the Project also had the benefit of Moehau Environment Group oversight and this returned to Runanga control in 2010.
The One Most Important Thing
It was important to get buy-in from landowners when the project began.
If you would like to volunteer to help the Harataunga BNZ Kiwi Project, or would like further information, contact the project co-ordinator, John Rabarts at
Phone: 07 866 8068 or 0211 333 792
Postal address: PO Box 180, Coromandel 3543