Kaitiakitaka kiwi

As part of our kaitiaki responsibilities, we have been supporting a number of initiatives aimed at saving the very rare Haast tokoeka and rowi (Ōkārito brown kiwi) from extinction. Operation Nest Egg (ONE), managed through the Department of Conservation, has been one such initiative where eggs are taken, hatched in a specialised facility and then taken to predator-free islands until they are big enough to fend off predators such as stoats. At this point the majority are returned to Ōkārito (Rowi) and Waitoto Valley (Tokoeka). A further initiative requires kiwi to be taken to other islands to establish back up populations.

Late last year, Kahurangi Wilson-Mahuika had the privilege to accompany some of our manu taonga, Haast Tokoeka, from their home in the Waitoto Valley in Haast  to Fiordland. Over a three-day period, he helped to release kiwi chicks onto Centre Island in the middle of Lake Te Anau and Rona Island in Lake Manapōuri, captured other older birds from both islands and took them down to Rarotoka Island in Foveaux Strait to be released.

The receiving rūnanga was Ōraka-Aparima and so the team were joined by kaumātua and environmental champion, Stewart Bull.

This was the first time that Kāti Māhaki had a member involved in the entire program in this part of the country.

Kahurangi with kiwi and Ōraka Aparima kaumātua Stewart Bull.

Kahurangi with kiwi and Ōraka Aparima kaumātua Stewart Bull.