Waimarino people have an opportunity to save our national bird with a kiwi avoidance programme for dogs in Raetihi this Saturday.

The programme is run by the Whakamanu Wildlife Trust in conjunction with the Department of Conservation.

So far 60 dogs are signed up, but there's room for more, trust founder Kerry Oates said.

"We've had up to 100 dogs in a day. It's very well supported."


The training programme has been running for seven years.

Mr Oates said it was impossible to measure how many kiwi had been saved but the programme had made a difference: "It's a gut feeling."

The trust aims to hold avoidance training days in the wider Ruapehu-Taupo region every two months. Many of the dogs and dog owners are repeats, renewing their knowledge and training every one to two years.

The kiwi avoidance training session in Raetihi is from 8.30am to 3pm on Saturday on SH4, just north of the cemetery.

To book, phone Kerry Oates on 07 332 2975 or 027 453 5456, or email whakamanu@xtra.co.nz.

Payment by koha.

The training is carried out by DOC staff, who are also offering free microchipping of dogs, though there is limited stock.

The Whakamanu Wildlife Trust was formed in 2000 by Mr Oates, an ornithologist. Its main aim has been to breed and return kiwi to the wild, and to date it has produced and returned more than 100 juvenile kiwi to wild populations in the Ruapehu district.