The 2020/2021 kiwi egg-lifting season has passed its mid-way mark and a leading Hawkes Bay kiwi conservation initiative is reporting good numbers of eggs following a disappointing season last year in which dry conditions across the North Island resulted in kiwi producing fewer eggs than normal.
Mid-way through the season, chicks from 36 eggs from the Forest Lifeforce Restoration Trust’s property in the Maungataniwha Native Forest, adjacent to Te Urewera, had incubated at the National Kiwi Hatchery and been sent to predator-proofed areas near Napier for rearing.
Trust staffer and ‘kiwi whisperer’ Barry Crene was pleased with the mid-season result.
The second half of the season is typically not as productive as the first and Mr Crene won’t be drawn on the number of viable eggs the Trust expects to be able to deliver by the end of the season.
“Last year’s second-half numbers right across the North Island were really disappointing so I’m not going to tempt fate by offering a prognosis. Conditions this year are similar to last year.”
The Forest Lifeforce Restoration Trust has carved out a name for itself as one of the most prolific and successful kiwi conservation initiatives in the country. Manager Pete Shaw said the Trust’s work with kiwi could not happen without the help and investment from its conservation partners, particularly the Cape Sanctuary, the National Kiwi Hatchery and its funder Ngai Tahu, the Department of Conservation and Kiwis for kiwi, the only national charity dedicated to protecting kiwi.
“Kiwi conservation is not just about partnerships, it’s about community,” Mr Shaw said. “It’s about friends, neighbours and our volunteers banding together to protect our national icon. Frequently in the dark and the cold and the pouring rain. They do it for love – literally.”
In addition to the Maungataniwha Kiwi Project the Trust runs a series of native flora and fauna regeneration projects. These include a drive to increase the wild-grown population of Kakabeak (Clianthus maximus), an extremely rare type of shrub, and the re-establishment of native plants and forest on 4,000 hectares currently, or until recently, under pine.
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About the Forest Lifeforce Restoration Trust
The Forest Lifeforce Restoration Trust was established in 2006 to provide direction and funding for the restoration of threatened species of fauna and flora, and to restore the ngahere mauri (forest lifeforce) in native forests within the Central North Island.
It runs eight main regeneration and restoration projects, involving native New Zealand flora and fauna, on three properties in the central North Island. It also owns a property in the South Island’s Fiordland National Park.