Kelly Gough is a ranger at Ōrokonui Ecosanctuary. Her prime responsibility is for the juvenile kiwi held at the sanctuary.*

On Wednesday 9 December 2015, Ōrokonui staff members and the Haast Department of Conservation team met at 6am at the Ōrokonui Ecosanctuary to catch some juvenile kiwi for release on to Coal Island. This was the first official scheduled departure of kiwi from the year-old Ōrokonui kiwi crèche where they managed to produce some healthy Haast Tokoeka kiwi – a big boost to the numbers of an endangered species.

Five kiwi were caught, weighed and dosed, and had their old transmitters removed before being placed into transport boxes for their journey to their new digs. Coal Island is located south-west of New Zealand and lies at the entrance to Preservation Inlet in Fordland’s National Park. The island consists of 1,100 hectares and offers a safe haven with plenty of room for the Tokoeka kiwi to grow and thrive.

Two Ōraka Aparima representatives – Norman Cleaver and Alex Taurima, accompanied the Haast Department of Conservation team and Ōrokonui Ecosanctuary staff on this amazing and memorable trip to Coal Island.

*The information for this story by Kelly Gough has been edited and condensed for this publication.

Alex and Norman with the tokoeka.

Alex and Norman with the tokoeka.