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Saving Our Kiwis’ Bacon

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Friday 6 May

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Saving Our Kiwis’ Bacon

Iconic New Zealand brand, Kiwi Bacon, is celebrating its 75th birthday by helping out its namesake and fellow New Zealand icon – the kiwi.

Kiwi Bacon, part of Mainland Products, has announced a three-year sponsorship of the Bank of New Zealand Kiwi Recovery Trust – a charitable trust which, in collaboration with the Department of Conservation, is involved in the conservation and management of kiwi throughout New Zealand.

The sponsorship will be officially launched at 11am today in Whangarei. To celebrate the announcement, a kiwi, affectionately named “Bacon”, will be released into the wild by Kiwi Bacon and Bank of New Zealand Kiwi Recovery Trust representatives.

Kiwi Bacon category manager, Craig Dixon, says the company is proud to have the kiwi as part of its name and brand, so want to do their bit to preserve New Zealand’s special icon.

“When Kiwi Bacon first started 75 years ago, there were about seven million kiwi in New Zealand. Now there are only about 70,000 so we felt we simply had to do our bit to help. We are proud of this sponsorship and the difference we believe it will make,” he says.

Mr Dixon says the kiwi is an important part of the New Zealand identity, yet few people realise it is endangered.

“The kiwi is an ancient and amazing bird and as we all know, it is very special to New Zealanders. Yet in areas where predators are not being controlled, their numbers halve each decade. We don’t want to sit back and watch that happen, so we approached the Trust to see what we could do,” he says.

Kiwi Bacon’s donation of $150,000 plus proceeds from product promotions will be spread over three years and will assist the Trust in its work with landowners, iwi, communities and conservation groups to help the kiwi flourish once again. The company is the first external organisation, besides principal sponsor the Bank of New Zealand, to sponsor the Trust.

Trust executive director, Kieron Goodwin says the Kiwi Bacon sponsorship will enable the Trust to work with more community-based groups around New Zealand to protect the kiwi.

“Without help, about half of all kiwi are predicted to be extinct on the mainland within one lifetime. But the good news is that it isn’t too late, and predator management and control is working. We are confident that declining populations can be reversed.

“Sponsorship is important for this essential work to continue, and we are grateful to Kiwi Bacon for coming on board,” he says.

There are six species of kiwi in New Zealand and populations of all species are in decline on the mainland. Mr Goodwin says the only places where kiwi populations are currently increasing are offshore islands and small intensively managed sanctuaries on the mainland.

“Predators such as dogs, cats, stoats and ferrets are the main threat to kiwi. But through working with community groups, we believe we can halt the decline within 10 years, and in the following 10 years we will work on increasing numbers again,” he says.

Kiwi Bacon has been proudly supplying New Zealanders with their bacon fix for 75 years. The brand is part of Mainland Product’s meats division which has manufacturing plants in Hamilton, Oamaru and Longburn where the Huttons, Brooks, Sizzlers, Milano and Tenderkist brands are also products.

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