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Triumphant return of wild kiwi to Wellington

Triumphant return of wild kiwi to Wellington after 125 years

Twenty rare and endangered little spotted kiwi are today being relocated from Kapiti Island to the Karori Sanctuary in the centre of the nation’s capital, ending over 125 years of local extinction.

Karori Wildlife Sanctuary Trust Chairman, Michael Morris, said that the return of kiwi to the Karori valley was a national triumph for conservation and a historic day for community initiatives.

“This was a team effort. We could not have done it without the support of the community, our volunteers and members and local iwi. We are grateful for the support of the Department of Conservation who have helped make it possible. We also want to pay tribute to the Wellington Tenths Trust, Te Atiawa and Ngati Toa in supporting the transfer of the birds,” Mr Morris said.

The Karori Sanctuary is a community initiative run by a community-based Trust. It has over 300 active volunteers and 5000 members. It controls and manages 250 hectares in the centre of Wellington City. It has built a nine-kilometre predator proof fence, undertaken complete pest eradication and commenced a 500-year restoration project.

“The little spotted kiwi will form the nucleus of breeding stock for the Sanctuary. It is expected that eventually the valley will be able to hold up to 200 kiwi,” Michael Morris said.

“This is a momentous day though we still have a long way to go. We still need to raise the funds for the visitor centre and for the restoration project and we need to fund our public opening at the end of this year.”

The Trust has raised $6 million to date and needs to raise another $3 million to complete the capital development of the project.

“Now that the eradication project is completed our species translocation programme is in full swing. Within the next twelve months we expect to add the little spotted kiwis’ cousins, the brown kiwi to the Sanctuary. Another 50 species will be transferred into the Sanctuary in the next ten years.”

“The Trust also acknowledges the long term support provided by our patron, the Governor General, His Excellency Sir Michael Hardie-Boys. We are delighted that he is able represent us at this release,” Mr Morris said.

Ends

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