Sixty-two kiwi eggs were taken from Hawke's Bay nests, incubated, hatched and then reared in predator-proof areas over the 2018/19 breeding season.

It's a decision that has reaped huge rewards.

Just 5 per cent of kiwi eggs make it to adulthood if their eggs are left in the bush unprotected against predators.

But of the 62 eggs recovered from the Forest Lifeforce Restoration Trust's property in the Maungataniwha Native Forest adjacent to Te Urewera Park, as part of the nationwide Operation Nest Egg (ONE) initiative, 45 hatched and survived.

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They have been reared to a size where they can safely be released back into the forests from where their eggs were taken.

Forest Lifeforce Restoration Trust staffer Barry Crene hands two chilly bins containing kiwi eggs to chairman Simon Hall, for a helicopter transfer. Photo / Supplied
Forest Lifeforce Restoration Trust staffer Barry Crene hands two chilly bins containing kiwi eggs to chairman Simon Hall, for a helicopter transfer. Photo / Supplied

Eggs from Maungataniwha are incubated at The National Kiwi Hatchery in Rotorua.

Most of the resulting chicks are reared within a predator-proof enclosure at Cape Sanctuary near Napier, which employs two full-time kiwi staff, trappers and a project manager specifically to enable this work.

Others are reared at The National Kiwi Hatchery or at the Pūkaha National Wildlife Centre at Mt Bruce in the Wairarapa. They stay here until they are large enough to fend for themselves and can be released back into the wild.

Not all kiwi taken from Maungataniwha as eggs make their way back to that forest.

Previously some have been released at Cape Sanctuary, Otanewainuku, the Whirinaki, the Kaweka Ranges and into captive breeding programmes.

All of the Maungataniwha kiwi from the 2018/2019 ONE season will be released either there or on the Trust's nearby 11,400ha Pohokura property.

It detailed recently a $411,000 plan to re-establish a viable population of kiwi at Pohokura by releasing up to 200 birds there between 2019 and 2024.

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Forest Lifeforce Restoration Trust forest manager Pete Shaw said the trust's work with kiwi could not happen without the help and investment from its conservation partners, particularly the Cape Sanctuary, the National Kiwi Hatchery and its funder Ngai Tahu, the Department of Conservation and Kiwis for kiwi, the only national charity dedicated to protecting kiwi.

"The complex equation that lets us all grow heaps of young kiwi to put back into our forests just wouldn't work if one of the elements wasn't there.

"Our partners are all dedicated conservation professionals who do an astounding job, often for little recognition or reward other than knowing that they're doing something worthwhile."

The trust recently released back into the wild its 300th kiwi reared over 11 seasons. It said last month that it has a raft of new kiwi to add to its breeding and recovery work after a successful "prospecting" exercise at Maungataniwha in May.