On Tuesday 3 May, I received an email from the Ōraka Aparima office saying they were looking for enthusiastic people to help with locating and catching kiwi in their environment.

I jumped at the chance and phoned Lynley McKay. She agreed I could come down and help out. On Saturday 7 May I was on a plane to Invercargill. Riki Dallas picked me up from the airport and took me to Takutai o te Tītī Marae. It was a busy weekend at the marae. Because I was there, I was invited to attend a hui for developing an Action Plan for Ōraka Aparima Rūnaka, Te Reo Māori Strategy. The next day (Sunday) I went to the Pink Ribbon Breakfast and then attended the general monthly hui at the marae. It was fantastic to catch up with extended whānau in person.

On Tuesday 10 May, the Department of Conservation Team (Jacinda, Lynne, Jo, Blair and Will), along with Alex Taurima and I, the two Ōraka Aparima representatives, were transported to the area that we needed to be at.

The purpose of the trip was to catch, weigh, measure, dose, put transmitters on and complete health checks on Haast Tokoeka kiwi that were released in the summer of 2008. I was lucky enough to spend an incredible seven days and six nights exploring this area, going out with the Department of Conservation kiwi team during the day and night to locate and catch kiwi. At nights we would listen and call for kiwi, so we were able to attempt to catch them during the day we looked with the dogs for hotspots/territories where the kiwis might be.

I would like to thank Ōraka Aparima Rūnaka for giving me this amazing opportunity and for letting me be part of this trip. It is wonderful to see the marae and area loved and cared for, to preserve it for generations to come. It was a fantastic experience, a once in a lifetime opportunity. Nā Raewyn Cook.