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“Keeping Our Kiwi”

Press release

NZ KIWI FOUNDATION

Aroha Island Ecological Centre

Embargoed until 5pm Thursday 8 May 2003

“KEEPING OUR KIWI”

Dr Greg Blunden, Convenor of the NZ Kiwi Foundation, had a word of warning to offer loyal Kiwis on Saturday:

“Without pest management, Kiwi will soon disappear. It’s as simple as that,” he stated.

“However,” he continued, “private landowners and community groups in the Far North are making sure it doesn’t happen.”

At the Annual General Meeting of the Foundation held at Aroha Island Ecological Centre on Saturday 3 May he highlighted progress in managing Kiwi on private land.

The report showed that over 10,000 hectares of Kiwi territory is now being managed for their protection and enhancement in the Far North – either directly by the NZ Kiwi Foundation or with their assistance, e.g. the Kerikeri Kiwi Project, Russell Peninsula Kiwi Project, Purerua Peninsula, Waiaua Bay and Opara.

“However, this needs to be put in perspective,” he added. “The Far North contains about 500 thousand hectares of private land. If just 20% of it still has Kiwi that gives us 100,000 hectares to manage.”

“As a baseline indicator of biodiversity values, if Kiwi disappear from mainland NZ then we are doing a poor job of looking after our environment.”

He was adamant Kiwi needed to be treated as a scarce resource.

“The Far North District is one of the few areas of our country that still has Kiwi - and it has the highest number of any region in the country.”

“That makes it the ‘Kiwi Capital of the World’!

“His report is an exciting document,” said Lindsay Charman, Foundation Trustee and Far North Co-ordinator for the NZ Landcare Trust.

“So much commitment has been made by community groups and individuals linked to the NZ Kiwi Foundation. There are some very good projects planned or under way at Waimate North, Mahinepua, Whakaangi, Herekino, Waima, Waipoua, Tutukaka and Whangarei Heads, as well as other places in Northland.”

He reported on applications for the recent round of the government’s Biodiversity Enhancement Funding.

“Almost half a million dollars has already been committed to indigenous biodiversity enhancement by land owners, and the new bids are seeking the same from the fund,” he said.

“We won’t get it all but there will be benefits, and not just for Kiwi. All native species benefit from pest and predator control,” he continued.

With the launch of the BNZ Kiwi Recovery Trust imminent it is an exciting time for Kiwi recovery.

“This is a new independent charitable trust aimed at community action following on from the past ten years BNZ Kiwi,” said Kieron Goodwin, Executive Director of the new trust and guest speaker at the meeting.

Dr Blunden praised supporters of the NZ Kiwi Foundation.

“Funding agencies are now more willing to fund labour, an essential component for predator work”, he said. “WWF NZ and Lottery Heritage & Environment have been foremost in this.”

“Equipment is also needed, and the ASB Trusts provided $40,000 for this.

Underlying all the funding, however, is the commitment of the QEII National Trust in operating Aroha Island Ecological Centre and Colin Little in making Aroha possible.

And don’t forget the Foundation volunteers and the private landowners who have adopted the vision of protecting and enhancing Kiwi habitat.”

ENDS
NZ KIWI FOUNDATION

CHARITABLE TRUST

P.O. Box 541

Kerikeri

Northland 0470

Wednesday 7 May 2003


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