Mataia Restoration Project ups and downs

by Helen Martin

In 2013, Glorit farmers Gill and Kevin Adshead became the first farmers to release kiwi onto private land. Since then they have worked tirelessly with the Mataia Restoration Project (MRP) team and many others to realise their dream of repopulating the Kaipara with kiwi. With predators like wild cats and mustletids (stoats, weasels and ferrets) a great risk to the project, the restoration work includes constant comprehensive and carefully managed predator control.

Twisty with DOC worker. (Photo from Tuahoa School)

Twisty with DOC worker. (Photo from Tuahoa School)

Sadly, Twisty, one of the first precious Brown Kiwi released, was recently found dead 50 metres from his nest. DNA testing by Ecogene scientists later determined that he was killed by a ferret. In the 10 years of the project this is the first time a ferret has been detected at Mataia. More traps have now been set, a mustletid dog has been taken there to look for ferrets and a trap has been moved to a place where there was a sign of mustletid presence.
Twisty was named by Tauhoa School, who raised $350 for one of the transmitters enabling the kiwis’ movements to be tracked and who take an ongoing and active interest in the restoration project. Tauhoa is also one of the schools involved in the pest control programme, Catch IT Schools.
Brown Kiwi are incubated by the male of a pair and, on a more positive note, kiwi Francis has started to incubate again. Footage of his first chick can be viewed on https://youtu.be/1d6qA9xh3Sk

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