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Farming Couple’s Passion for Conservation Sees Return of Kiwi to Kaipara

Kiwis-for-kiwi-Logo-150Department of ConservationNEWS RELEASE – FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE. Gill and Kevin Adshead may look like your average dry stock farming couple, but get them talking and you’ll discover a drive for environmental restoration that led to the release of 14 Northland Brown kiwi onto their family’s Southern Kaipara property.

Kiwi have been absent from this area for more than 50 years. Their history-making return was celebrated with an event on Saturday 25 May on Mataia, the family’s Glorit property.

Kiwis for Kiwi executive director, Michelle Impey says this project is a tremendous example of what individual New Zealanders can do to save kiwi.

“I salute Gill and Kevin and all who have worked with them to bring kiwi back to the Kaipara. Establishing a population of kiwi on private land is a remarkable, landmark achievement.

“If more of us follow the Adshead’s example, kiwi can once again flourish across New Zealand. It’s a challenge I put to each and every one of us. ”

In 2006, Gill and Kevin Adshead established the Mataia Restoration project with the aim of re-establishing the ecological values of the area. This involved retiring more than 400 hectares of their 1300 hectare property from farming. With the help of the community, school groups and an army of volunteers, they have been doing extensive pest and predator control as well as stream fencing and native planting.

Gill Adshead says she feels honoured to have kiwi on her property.

“To be able to hear the kiwi call at night is something I will treasure.

“There were many people who helped us create the environment for these endangered birds. While these kiwi may be on our land, they don’t belong to us. They are for everyone.”

The 14 kiwi will be relocated from Motuora Island in Auckland’s Hauraki Gulf. Their release onto this Southern Kaipara property marks the closest wild kiwi population to Central Auckland.

Once flourishing in the hundreds of thousands throughout New Zealand, kiwi are now endangered, some species critically so, due primarily to predation by stoats, weasels, cats, ferrets and dogs. Numbers have also plummeted due to loss of habitat.

Today, 95 percent of kiwi in unprotected areas die before they reach breeding age.
Kiwis for kiwi is a non profit organisation that supports the work of more than 80 community groups around the country, providing funding for vital kiwi conservation, breeding and hatching programmes. Go to www.kiwisforkiwi.org to make your secure, online donation.

ENDS

To request photos taken at the kiwi release event, for interviews or further information contact: Penny Hartill, Hartill Communications Ltd 09 445 7525, 021 721 424, penny@hartillpr.co.nz
Editor’s Notes

Kiwis for KiwiTM is the trading name of The Kiwi Trust. It is a new independent trust, carrying on more than two decades of dedicated work by BNZ Save the Kiwi Trust, to help protect kiwi and the places they live. Thousands of New Zealanders have donated to this cause, with a vision to take kiwi from endangered to everywhere. Kiwis for kiwi raises and distributes funds to community, DOC and volunteer groups helping save kiwi throughout the country.

Kiwis for kiwi patron is Sir Graham Henry.