Art & Entertainment | Book Reviews | Education | Entertainment Video | Health | Lifestyle | Sport | Sport Video | Search

 


'Unbirdlike' bird surviving by community efforts

MEDIA RELEASE

'Unbirdlike' bird surviving thanks to community efforts

It's a famous name, distinctive shape and metaphor for nationality, but until recently kiwi in the wild were in decline.

Now thousands of New Zealanders are working resolutely to save the bird.

In a new book, Kiwi: The People's Bird, leading natural history writer Neville Peat tells the story of the nation-wide community efforts to protect this remarkable creature, and explores its biological oddities and symbolic status.

Peat has been following the kiwi's fortunes for twenty years, working in the field with scientists and writing two previous books on the bird. 'Researching the world of the kiwi in the late 1980s, I encountered an atmosphere of despair. For all its toughness the kiwi appeared to be a dying breed. Doing fieldwork for this book was an entirely different experience,' says Peat.

'The bird is only avoiding extinction through human intervention at the eleventh hour. Community support for the North Island Brown Kiwi is nothing short of a mass movement. Many projects may appear modest in scale and effort, but, taken as a whole, they add up to an outpouring of support for a single species on a scale not before seen in New Zealand.'

This 'people power' includes thousands of volunteers and is backed by tens of millions of dollars in private funding, plus millions more channelled through government sources. Efforts are also being made by organisations such as the Bank of New Zealand Save the Kiwi Trust and the Department of Conservation, and through captive breeding schemes involving places like the Auckland Zoo and Rainbow Springs Kiwi Encounter in Rotorua.

'Through the drive to protect mainland kiwi, several thousand people have been able to hear and perhaps see a kiwi in the wild for the first time,' says Peat.

With its strange characteristics, the kiwi is an extraordinary sight. It is arguably the world's most unbirdlike bird - features such as long whiskers, hair-like plumage and a strong sense of smell have led it to be called an 'honorary mammal'.

For decades it was thought there were just three species of kiwi - brown, great spotted and little spotted. Now, through advances in DNA profiling, there are eleven recognised kinds of kiwi in five species - three brown and two spotted - and more may yet be uncovered. Sizes vary from the 25cm little spotted kiwi, to the great spotted and brown kiwi which are as large as 45cm tall.

Rich in information and profusely illustrated, Kiwi: The People's Bird is published by Otago University Press.

Author
Neville Peat has written many books on New Zealand natural history and other subjects, including the prize-winning Wild series with Brian Patrick. His most recent book is Hurricane Tim: The Story of Sir Tim Wallis.

Publication details

Kiwi: The People's Bird by Neville Peat
Release: 7 December 2006. RRP $45.00


ENDS

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
 
 
Culture Headlines | Health Headlines | Education Headlines

 

NZ On Air TV Funding: More Comedy Comes Out Of The Shadows

Paranormal Event Response Unit is a series conceived by Jemaine Clement and Taika Waititi as a TV spin-off from their highly acclaimed feature film What We Do In The Shadows. More>>

ALSO:

Mars News: Winners Announced For The 2016 Apra Silver Scroll Awards

Wellington singer-songwriter and internationally acclaimed musician Thomas Oliver has won the 2016 APRA Silver Scroll Award with his captivating love song ‘If I Move To Mars’. More>>

ALSO:

Scoop Review Of Books: Salt River Songs by Sam Hunt

Colin Hogg, a longtime comrade of Sam, writes in his Introduction that, ‘There is a lot of death in this collection of new poems by my friend Sam Hunt. It’s easier to count the poems here that don’t deal with the great destroyer than it is to point to the ones that do.’ More>>

Electronica: Restoring The World’s First Recorded Computer Music

University of Canterbury Distinguished Professor Jack Copeland and UC alumni and composer Jason Long have restored the earliest known recording of computer-generated music, created more than 65 years ago using programming techniques devised by Alan Turing. More>>

ALSO:

Scoop Review Of Books: Almost Getting Away With Murder

The Black Widow by Lee-Anne Cartier: Lee-Anne Cartier is the sister of the Christchurch man found to have been murdered by his wife, Helen Milner, after an initial assumption by police that his death, in 2009, was suicide. More>>

Howard Davis: Triple Echo - The Malevich/Reinhardt/Hotere Nexus

Howard Davis: The current juxtaposition of works by Ralph Hotere and Ad Reinhardt at Te Papa perfectly exemplifies Jean Michel Massing's preoccupation with the transmigration of imagery in a remarkable triple echo effect... More>>

Get More From Scoop

 
 

LATEST HEADLINES

 
 
 
 
Culture
Search Scoop  
 
 
Powered by Vodafone
NZ independent news