Your Christmas Shopping for a Song

Date posted: 04-Dec-2017

Aka - The Grand Christmas Shopping Expedition to Tiritiri Matangi Island Shop Dreading..

2018 Photo Comp opens for entries

Date posted: 27-Nov-2017

The 2018 Photo Competition is now open for entries. Click here (/2018-photo-competition-tiritiri-mat..

New reports on ruru nesting and Island conservation

Date posted: 02-Oct-2017

Two new reports have been added to the website. The first gives details of a summer students..

2018 calendars now available

Date posted: 27-Sep-2017

Our latest calendar, beautifully illustrated with images taken on the Island, is now available fo..

Guided walks for photographers

Date posted: 21-Jun-2017

For a wonderful day of wildlife photography please join us on Tiritiri Matangi Island for a Ph..

Ferry discounts for Supporters

Date posted: 18-May-2017

Tiritiri Matangi Island, the perfect winter's day trip. The birds are at their best, warm up w..

More kiwi for the Island

Date posted: 04-Apr-2017

In 1993 and 1995, sixteen little spotted kiwi were released on Tiritiri Matangi Island. The ma..

2017 Photo Competition

Date posted: 22-Mar-2017

It is that time of year again when we are looking for entries for our photo competition (and phot..

The 2017 concert

Date posted: 05-Feb-2017

This year's concert promises to be another wonderful and unique experience. Click here (/concert-..

Shorebird Film Festival at Devonport

Date posted: 26-Oct-2016

Click here (/miscellaneous documents/DevWaderFilms.jpg) for details of a forthcoming film festival c..

Kiwi Survey a great success

Date posted: 03-Aug-2012

It's Kiwi survey time again on the Island. Here are some selected highlights from a report by Mary-Ann Rowland. The photographs were supplied by Alison and Roger Bray and Norma Baker.

Well folks, its official, we have stalkers on Tiri. Each evening for the past 10 days, just after 7pm, a group of volunteers (volunteer stalkers??!!!!) heads out from the bunkhouse bundled up in great swathes of clothing and carrying large nets, aerials and bulging packs. They are led by a beautiful golden haired Irishwoman, Jade the Irish Setter. The only person to not be looking like a walking mountain is Hugh Robertson whose beard seems to act as an electric blanket.

The quarry are the Little spotted Kiwi who were first released on the island in 1993 when 5 pairs arrived from Kapiti Island. In 1995, 3 more pairs arrived and by 1997 it was estimated that there were 25 birds on Tiri. By 2002 the estimate was up to 50 and at the last 5-yearly census in 2007, it was 60 to 75.

Getting back to the stalkers – each night a different area of the island was targeted, or if on a previous night birds had been heard and not caught they went back to find them. Jade would walk slowly out in front of the group, nose held high and a with a very disciplined gait and a wee bit of sass in her tail. When she smelled the kiwi’s very distinctive (to a dog at least) aroma, she would stop and raise one paw pointing in the direction of the kiwi. This was a signal for everyone to spring into action. Those with nets were directed by Hugh to the appropriate positions, Jade was quietly led off to one side and Rogan (Jade’s owner/handler) would grab the sound gear to lure the bird out. What was impressive was that most nights there were different folk on the island and yet the experts had everyone involved and everyone doing the right thing at the right time. Each bird that was caught (to date they have caught 29 – a world record on Tiritiri) was measured, weighed, banded, felt for condition, had 7 pin feathers removed for genetic sampling and some had a transmitter attached. They are all in really good condition the males weighing between 1100 and 1600 grams and the females between 1400 and 2000 grams. The birds are held firmly by their feet and their body lain across the holder’s arm as if cradling a baby. It has been a joy to see the range of emotions flicking across the faces of those lucky enough to hold a little spotted – we’ve had the smile of the proud parent/grandmother/grandfather, tears of happiness and great grins of a lifetime wish come true. The reason the birds are held like this is that because they don’t fly and only have vestigial wings they don’t have the usual “keel” bone running up their chest (for the wing muscles to attach to); if they were to be held in the normal way for a bird there would be the possibility of crushing their chest. You can stroke a kiwi, though when it is caught one of its defence mechanisms is to shed a lot of feathers, great for escaping Haast eagles, so you can end up rather feathery – but you do not touch their head area. They have very sensitive whiskers around the base of their beaks plus their nostrils at the tip and touching this end of the bird can distress them. As long as you leave the head alone they lie quite calmly seemingly unperturbed by all the action around them.

The Kiwi stalking went on until 2 or 3 am each morning and at 11 am the team would be up and out again with their aerial to find the birds caught the night before and then the hunt began for their mate who would usually be in a burrow nearby. Of course the whole catching, weighing, banding, etc. would start all over again. By dinner time – and what meals were to be had, lovingly cooked by the many happy volunteers – some (one in particular) of the team would be found leaning on a wall in the kitchen sound asleep.

James Fraser and Natasha Coad with their dogs, Percy and Breeze, two beautiful English setters (black and white coats) have been working for the Supporters with Hugh Robertson (with a beautiful black Labrador) and Rogan (the proud owner of Jess) from DOC, a real partnership in action. It has been a wonderful experience for everyone on the Island.

The very latest is that there are at least 2 pairs already nesting on the island. These are the earliest nests recorded anywhere in New Zealand.