In late September, Lynley McKay and I (from the rūnaka office) were privileged to accompany the Department of Conservation (DoC) staff on the translocation of four Haast Tokoeka Kiwi from their crèche island. DoC estimates there are only about 400-500 of these kiwi remaining.

The team had undertaken disease screening on the kiwi in preparation before moving the small number of last season’s chicks to a Kōhanga Island. These birds weigh between 1000 and 1500 grams, and at this weight they should be large enough to protect themselves against predators

We started our trip by meeting the helicopter at Ōrawia. From there we flew over Te Kōawa Tūroa o Takitimu before landing at Manapōuri. We were picked up by two DoC staff members and our feathered VIP passengers. Once on board we flew across some of our amazing takiwā before landing on one of the stoat and rat free Kōhanga islands. After a brief mihi the kiwi were released to go forth and multiply – hopefully in another two to three years.

On our return flight to Ōrawia, we saw more of our incredible takiwā, including lakes Hauroko, Poteriteri, Monowai and Manapōuri and stunning views of the Takitimu maunga. Our drive back to Aparima was an endless conversation of highlights.

I feel privileged to have participated in this activity. DoC is working tirelessly to save several of our endangered species. I would encourage all our members interested in participating in these kinds of activities, to contact our office. Unfortunately, there are some restrictions and often it’s short notice. Nā Riki Dallas.

Riki and Lynley holding a pair of kiwi.

Riki and Lynley holding a pair of kiwi.