Radio New Zealand
Six kiwi have been released onto the Kaitake range in Te Papakura o Taranaki / Egmont National Park where the call of our national bird has been absent for decades.
The release is a milestone in a battle against predators on Kaitake being waged – for the most part – by a small army of volunteers.
Kaitake, at 680 metres, is the oldest of the three volcanic cones in Te Papakura o Taranaki.
It forms the north-western boundary of the national park and its sun-loving semi-coastal forest reaches to the outskirts of the seaside settlement of Oakura.
Ngā Mahanga a Tairi hapū member Tane Manu said kiwi once came into the village.
“I have spoken to a number of community members that do remember the manu coming all the way down into Oakura and it is still quite surreal that we are going to be hearing this manu back on our mounga especially for us.”
Manu said hapū was on hand to provide the kiwi safe passage on to Kaitake on behalf of the Taranaki Mounga Project, a collaboration between the Department of Conservation, the eight iwi of Taranaki and philanthropic investor the NEXT Foundation.
Co-project manager Sean Zieltjes said its work had built on a decade of hard graft put in by local Kaitake Ranges Conservation Trust.
“Four years ago our team Taranaki Mounga Project came along and really have just helped to amplify their efforts to the point today that we’ve got stoat and ferret control right across Kaitake and we’ve achieved a reduction in pests to a point where that the department allowed us to release these kiwi.”
Zieltjes said there were 500 stoat traps and another 60 ferret traps laid across Kaitake.
About 100 local volunteers went beyond the call of duty to keep them cleared, he said.