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Kiwi return to North Island mainland

The return of the Little Spotted Kiwi to mainland New Zealand is a conservation milestone, Prime Minister Helen Clark, Environment Minister Marian Hobbs and Acting Conservation Minister Phillida Bunkle said today.

"Today's release of kiwi into the Karori Wildlife Sanctuary is a tribute to the dedicated and focussed work of the many groups and individuals who have worked towards today becoming a reality," the ministers said.

"This is an especially remarkable achievement for the Karori Wildlife Sanctuary which has worked hard to become the most pest-free square mile of urban habitat in the world."

Helen Clark, Marian Hobbs, and Phillida Bunkle today joined the celebrations at Wellington's Karori Sanctuary to mark the first release of the Little Spotted Kiwi in more than a century.

Twenty of the native birds are being transferred from the off-shore sanctuary, Kapiti Island, for release at the Karori Wildlife Sanctuary.

"The Karori Wildlife Sanctuary is a "mainland island" in the heart of the capital city, and is managed using similar techniques to those applied on offshore island reserves.

"Managing mainland areas as though they were islands is challenging enough on its own. Doing it in the middle of the city is revoluntionary, and may well be a world-first.

"Today's release of kiwi in Wellington reinforces the government's commitment to preserving and protecting endangered species. This government recently announced the investment of an extra $10 million on the Kiwi Recovery Programme which establishes five sanctuaries across the country with funding secured for the next five years," the ministers said.

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