A Hawke’s Bay conservation trust is challenging Kiwis to “get in behind” an important new endowment fund that will help fund kiwi conservation work into the future. The Kiwis for kiwi charity this week (23 March) launched the fund, aimed at raising $20m over the next five years, which will enable it to maintain its support of kiwi conservation efforts and create momentum for future growth of the kiwi population.
Simon Hall, Chairman of the Forest Lifeforce Restoration Trust, said the Kiwis for kiwi Endowment Fund was important because it would pick up where recent government funding left off.
“In recent times Kiwis for kiwi has been entrusted with significant government funding which will create hundreds of jobs, eradicate predators from hundreds and thousands of hectares of New Zealand forest, and help to further increase the kiwi population. But government funding is finite and should not be relied on for the mahi that is needed if our national icon is to be saved from extinction.
“The Kiwis for kiwi Endowment Fund, with its base funding of $20m, will provide a steady income stream to fund kiwi conservation work for generations to come.”
Mr Hall said the job of saving kiwi from extinction was too large, and too important, to be the responsibility of government and Crown agencies alone.
“New Zealanders are team players and it’s up to all of us – the public sector, the private sector and individual Kiwis – to make it happen.”
The Kiwis for kiwi Endowment Fund (www.endowmentfund.kiwi) allows people who are passionate about the survival and longevity of our national icon to contribute to help save the kiwi in a powerful and purposeful way. Anyone can donate to the fund – there’s a bank account number on the ‘donate’ page of the fund’s website, into which deposits can be directed.
Former Prime Ministers Helen Clark and Sir John Key are patrons of the endowment fund, putting political differences aside for the benefit of our national icon. They marked the launch of the fund by releasing ‘Ardern’ and six other juvenile kiwi onto the Forest Lifeforce Restoration Trust’s Pohokura property near Taupo.
The eggs from which the seven birds hatched came from the trust’s property in the Maungataniwha Native Forest in inland Hawke’s Bay. They were taken to the National Kiwi Hatchery Aotearoa in Rotorua for incubation as part of Operation Nest Egg.
After they hatched, Ardern and the other kiwi were raised in a protected area until they were large enough to defend themselves against predators in the wild. They were released into the bush at Pohokura as part of our bid to re-establish a viable kiwi population there, in the same way as the trust has done at Maungataniwha.
Mr Hall said the teamwork involved in the egg retrieval, incubation, crèching and release process was exactly the same teamwork that would be needed to make the Kiwis for kiwi Endowment Fund a success.
“Our trust’s work with kiwi could not happen without the help and investment from our conservation partners, particularly the Cape Sanctuary, the National Kiwi Hatchery and its funder Ngai Tahu, the Department of Conservation and Kiwis for kiwi,” he said.
“This is absolutely a partnership of equals. The complex equation that lets us all grow heaps of young kiwi to put back into our forests just wouldn’t work if one of the elements wasn’t there. Our partners are all dedicated conservation professionals who do an astounding job, often for little recognition or reward other than knowing that they’re doing something worthwhile.”
He thanked Ms Clark and Sir John for bridging the political divide to raise awareness of the new conservation endowment fund.
The Forest Lifeforce Restoration (FLR) Trust is fast carving out a name for itself as one of the most prolific and successful kiwi conservation initiatives in the country.
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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