01September 2006 Media Release
New Zealanders donate record amount to help save the kiwi
Thanks to the generosity of thousands of New Zealanders, the endangered kiwi has more money and muscle behind its plight than ever before.
The increase in donations is due largely to the number of Bank of New Zealand customers who are opting for kiwi EFTPOS cards and kiwi cheque books.
Total funding for the upcoming year equates to a record $663,937 being allocated by the Bank of New Zealand Save the Kiwi Trust (BNZSKT) to kiwi projects nationwide. An increase of more than 20 per cent on the previous year.
The Trust received 51 applications this year of which 38 were approved to receive funding. Four of the successful projects are from the South Island and 34 are from the North Island. An increase from 44 applications in 2005 and 29 applications back in 2003 when the Trust allocated funding for the first time.
Successful applicants, Karen and Bob Schumacher from Inglewood in East Taranaki will use their first BNZSKT funding cheque to help expand the area their community kiwi protection project covers.
The couple bought their 192ha bush block out at Matau back in 2001 with the intention of protecting it. By early 2005, the couple had convinced neighbouring farmers, forestry owners and Maori landowners to join the project and the East Taranaki Environment Trust was born.
“Our vision,” says Karen, “Is to ensure the western north island brown kiwi has a sustainable population in this area.” In the coming year, the Trust will be undertaking a feasibility study to look at growing the project to include more neighbouring bush to expand the current protection area from 2800ha to 12,000ha.
Protected land throughout New Zealand is now estimated to be 70,000ha by the Department of Conservation (DOC) and 60,000ha by community groups.
“New Zealanders are becoming more aware and more proactive about saving our national icon,” says Michelle Impey, Executive Director of BNZSKT. “There is an increase in kiwi activity nationwide, reflected by the increase in applications to the Trust, the number of community-based initiatives working to save kiwi, and by the amount of land under protection for kiwi.”
According to DOC, the BNZSKT funding contributes to three main areas of kiwi protection:
- Research into new management techniques such as investigating the optimum spacing and density of traps to maximise kiwi protection over large areas
- Ensuring all 11 kiwi species have a genetically sustainable core of birds being managed
- Raising public awareness through educational programmes such as responsible dog ownership and kiwi-safe possum trapping methods.
“We now have over 2000 extra kiwi under protection thanks to the last four years of funding initiatives from the BNZSKT,” explains Paul Jansen, DOC’s National Kiwi Recovery co-ordinator. “The number of kiwi produced from these founder birds alone, will mean that these managed population kiwi will continue to grow in number at a rate of 10-15 per cent a year.”
By choosing a kiwi product, customers donate annually toward the BNZSKT. Kiwi EFTPOS cardholders donate $10 per year and for each kiwi cheque book issued, $4 goes to the Trust. In the last year, the number of kiwi EFTPOS cards in circulation has nearly doubled from 8,883 to 17,565.
To support Bank of New Zealand Save the Kiwi Trust, the public can donate using their EFTPOS card at any Bank of New Zealand ATM machine, or donate online at www.savethekiwi.org.nz or at any branch of Bank of New Zealand.