100th island kiwi for mainland

This week the 100th kiwi raised on Matakohe-Limestone Island will be released at Whangarei Heads.

The island is the only kiwi creche in Northland. Chicks are raised there until big enough to fend for themselves when they are relocated to help repopulate the mainland.

The low pest numbers on the island ensures the survival of many young chicks nurtured there as part of the BNZ Kiwi for Kiwi programme.

Once the site of a Maori pa, extensive kumara gardens, and a thriving late-1800s cement works, the reserve is the focus of ecological and cultural restoration by the Friends of Matakohe-Limestone Island (Fomli's) in partnership with Whangarei District Council, community groups and local businesses, including Golden Bay Cement.

Fomli has worked closely with the Department of Conservation, Whangarei Heads Landcare Trust and Whangarei District Council to reach the milestone which sees the 100th kiwi returned to the mainland.

The island was nearly stripped of its trees during its industrial and agricultural phases but volunteers have planted more than 160,000 trees.

The predator-free island is now home to New Zealand dotterel, fernbird, banded rail, four species of skinks and three species of geckos.

The vision is to see Matakohe-Limestone Island as a functioning coastal forest ecosystem, and to protect and enhance its unique Maori and European cultural heritage.

- Northern Advocate

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