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Summit Forest corporate planning manager Fumi Tajima, left, GIS specialist Paul Thompson, managing director Kenji Okawa, and Whangapoua Forest manager Norbert Klein. Photo: SUPPLIED

Hundredth kiwi released in Whangapoua Forest

Project Kiwi and Summit Forests released its 100th kiwi into the Whangapoua Forest on the Coromandel Peninsula on May 11 as part of its campaign to reverse the population decline of Aotearoa’s national bird.

Whangapoua Forest is a plantation forest owned by Summit Forests NZ and it is a site where ground-based predator control is carried out to keep kiwi safe. 

It was at this location where Project Kiwi releases juvenile kiwi which have been hatched and reared to a ‘stoat-proof’ weight which gives them a hugely increased chance of survival if they encounter a stoat.

Save the Kiwi Coromandel brown kiwi coordinator and Project Kiwi project manager, Paula Williams, said Summit was a key partner, and the project location was an important connecting site to restore kiwi populations in Coromandel.

“Over the decade Project Kiwi has been managing this project, Summit has shown great enthusiasm and willingness to support this kaupapa started by Ernslaw One,” she said.

“Through monitoring, we know the kiwi inhabiting this block have stayed over successive years, which tells us the mix of native pockets around waterways and pine plantation of Whangapoua Forest suits their needs.

“This knowledge is helping to reshape perceptions around the value of commercial forestry for kiwi recovery. There are 1.7 million hectares of commercial forestry across New Zealand, so thinking about how we can harness this for the sake of kiwi is full of opportunity.”

Whangapoua Forest manager Norbert Klein said it was a privilege to work alongside a group that was passionate about kiwi conservation.

“Understanding kiwi can thrive in plantation forest gives the forestry industry a tangible way to contribute to New Zealand’s overall conservation goals,” he said.

“Partnering with Project Kiwi over these last 11 years, and now celebrating the release of the 100th kiwi into the Whangapoua Forest, enables us to give back to the Coromandel community in a way that is genuinely valuable to the future of New Zealand’s national bird.”