A senior ranger is urging dog owners to keep their pets out of Waitangi Forest after a kiwi was mauled close to the area where a spate of kiwi killings occurred two years ago.

Signs have been placed at the Kerikeri Inlet Rd entrances to the forest calling for information about the attack.

The dead bird, an adult female, was found by a cyclist just inside a forest gate opposite Sommerfields. Staff from Northland Forest Managers retrieved the kiwi, with a Massey University vet confirming dog bites were the cause of death.

Dog DNA found on the bird has been added to a database started by the Department of Conservation in 2015 when at least eight kiwi were killed on nearby Wharau Rd.


The attack occurred in July but since then kiwi have been killed by dogs in Kaeo, caught in a possum trap in Russell and run over in Kerikeri.

DoC ranger Adrian Walker urged people to keep their pets out of Waitangi Forest, which stretches from the outskirts of Kerikeri to Waitangi.

It had the highest kiwi density of any plantation forest in the country but the birds were vulnerable to dogs being walked in the forest or allowed to wander, he said.

The forest had been the site of major predation events in the past - most notably in 1987 when a dumped dog is thought to have killed hundreds of kiwi over a six-week period - but kiwi numbers had bounced back since then, helped by pest control work carried out by hapu-led community group Iwi Kiwi and Northland Forest Managers.

The 2200ha Waitangi State Forest and the adjoining 570ha Waitangi Endowment Forest were a model of how plantation forestry and kiwi could coexist, Mr Walker said.

It was not known if the dog was being walked in the forest or had wandered in from a nearby property.

Since then, on September 1, an adult male kiwi was attacked by a dog as it was being walked along a road in Kaeo. The bird was still alive when it was taken to the DoC office in Kerikeri but its injuries were so severe it had to be put down.

Also this month a possum hunter was spoken to by DoC after a leg-hold trap left on the ground caught a kiwi near Russell, and a kiwi was run over at Dove's Bay near Kerikeri.

That bird survived and is being cared for at the Whangarei Bird Recovery Centre. It was one of 70 kiwi hit by cars in the Doves Bay/Rangitane area since 2000, Mr Walker said.

After the Wharau Rd deaths in 2015 DNA testing found a bull mastiff bitch was responsible for killing some of the birds. The dog owner was fined.

■ If you have information about the Waitangi Forest kiwi death, or you see a dog in the forest, call DoC on (09) 407 0300 or Northland Forest Managers on (09) 407 7115. After hours you can call the DoC hotline 0800 DOC HOT. Dogs are not permitted in the forest without a permit.