The Maungataniwha Kiwi Project began in 2006, funded by Simon Hall, the Auckland-based owner of Tasti Foods.
It operates in Maungataniwha Native Forest (6120 hectares), which Simon bought in 2005, and is sited on the southern edge of Te Urewera National Park, which Simon bought in 2005. Simon also owns the adjacent Maungataniwha Pine Forest (6294 hectares) and the nearby 11,348-hectare Pohokura Forest.
Under the auspices of the Forest Life Force Restoration Trust, Simon has poured many millions into restoring his privately-owned wildernesses, including ongoing work to convert 3500-hectares of pine plantation back to native forest.
The project has also benefitted from the expertise of fellow trustees, kiwi scientist John McLennan and Pete Shaw, the project’s manager.
The Maungataniwha Kiwi Project is jointly run with the Cape Kidnappers and Ocean Beach Wildlife Preserve. Its goals are threefold:
- To use Operation Nest Egg™ to secure and enhance the Maungataniwha Native Forest’s population of eastern brown kiwi.
- To contribute the bulk of the 60 kiwi which will re-stock the Cape Kidnappers and Ocean Beach Wildlife Preserve.
- To establish a viable breeding population of kiwi within the Pohkura forest
Recent monitoring reveals the southern sector of the Maungataniwha Native Forest has adequate numbers of kiwi to support a joint project supplying kiwi chicks to Otanewainuku in the western Bay of Plenty.
The project has sent most its eggs to Kiwi Encounter in Rotorua. Kiwis for kiwi has funded kiwi catching and Egg Timer™ transmitters that enable the nesting behaviour of male kiwi to be monitored.
Size of area under protection
Maungataniwha Native Forest covers 6120 hectares of native forest in northern Hawke’s Bay. Within this forest, 270 traps targeting ferrets are regularly checked by Barry Crene and Charlie Janes. Four ferrets and 364 stoats have been caught to date. The traps were supplied by the Hawke’s Bay Regional Council. The Council has now twice treated all three of Simon’s properties with aerial 1080 as part of a greater bovine tuberculosis control programme.
The biggest challenge facing the Maungataniwha Kiwi Project is its remoteness. Project manager, Pete Shaw, says most kiwi eggs collected in the forest are more than a 5-hour ride from safety at KiwI Encounter in Rotorua, and the chicks face a similar long trek home again.
The other great challenge has been to defend resident kiwi from ferret predation.
After five seasons, 57 healthy chicks were returned to Maungataniwha Forest and 41 to Cape Kidnappers and Ocean Beach Wildlife Preserve.
To-date, no monitored kiwi have been lost to mustelid predation.
The one most important thing
Pete says: ‘Get good people in at the beginning. This project had John McLennan, Tamsin Ward-Smith and Lance Dew on board from day one – is there a more powerful combination?’ It also benefits from the involvement of on-site workers Barrie Crene and Charlie Janes and dedicated volunteers – Kevin and Vieta Campbell, Cherrie and Graham Lincoln, and Sue McLennan.
Andy and Liz Lowe have provided much support in the partnership with Cape Kidnappers and Ocean Beach Wildlife Preserve.
If you would like to learn more about the Maungataniwha Kiwi Project, or volunteer your efforts, contact Pete Shaw, at:
Phone: 021 501 273
Postal address: P O Box 1247, Taupo 3351