Hihi volunteer needed

Date posted: 18-Oct-2018

Would you like to volunteer with the Island's hihi team and learn from them how ..

2019 Calendars now available

Date posted: 05-Sep-2018

The new 2019 calendars are now available and this year's is better than ever! Th..

Winners of kokako photo competition

Date posted: 02-Sep-2018

The stunning winning photographs from those submitted to the competition as part..

Kokako Celebration

Date posted: 21-Jul-2018


Kokako Photographic Competition

Date posted: 20-Jul-2018

KĊŒKAKO PHOTOGRAPHIC COMPETITION Celebrating 21 years on Tiritiri Matangi To ce..

New monitoring reports published

Date posted: 19-Jul-2018

Reports on monitoring studies carried out over the past year have now been poste..

2018 Concert coming up soon

Date posted: 15-Feb-2018

Our 2018 concert will feature an afternoon of light classics and jazz courtesy of the Auckland Ph..

Wetapunga talk coming soon

Date posted: 05-Feb-2018

For the Social on 19 March the speaker will be Ben Goodwin of Auckland Zoo, who will talk about t..

Rat caught and now takahe released from pens

Date posted: 28-Jan-2018

Thankfully DOC staff Andre de Graaf and Polly Hall and their assistants have trapped the rat whic..

Your Christmas Shopping for a Song

Date posted: 04-Dec-2017

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

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.