Five kiwi have been found dead after a suspected dog attack in the northern Bay of Islands.
All five birds were found along Tapuaetahi Beach, on the Purerua Peninsula, on the morning of February 22.
The incident, which has only just come to light, follows a series of similar attacks in the Bay of Islands since 2015.
Adrian Walker, senior biodiversity ranger from the Department of Conservation's Bay of Islands office, said initial examinations showed the kiwi were attacked by a dog or dogs.
The dead birds had been sent away for DNA testing and post-mortem examinations.
DoC was ''very disappointed'' and the Tapuaetahi community was upset to lose five of its kiwi.
"The community has been very helpful and we are working with Far North District Council's animal control team to identify the dog, or dogs, and the owners responsible,'' Walker said.
"We urge all dog owners to ensure they know where their dogs are at all times given the risk they pose to kiwi when they are uncontrolled. Offending dog owners can face court charges and risk losing their dog as well.''
''There is often a pattern of dogs being seen out and about before incidents occur so communities are the first line of defence in preventing dog attacks on wildlife.''
Walker said anyone who saw an uncontrolled dog in a kiwi zone could pick the dog up, if it was safe to do so, and hand it over to a council animal control officer (phone 0800 920 029).
Otherwise, they could try to follow the dog home to find out where it lived, or alert the local hapu, landcare group, council or DoC for help.
Walker said kiwi populations were recovering in many locations throughout Tai Tokerau — including Purerua — thanks to hapū, iwi and community-run landcare groups gave up thousands of hours of their time to protect the iconic birds.
The Tapuaetahi incident is the latest in a series of kiwi killings by wandering dogs.
In December 2020 a Purerua Peninsula resident was convicted of owning a dog that killed native wildlife after six dead kiwi were found on her lawn in July 2019.
In February this year a Russell man was fined $4500, a New Zealand record, for owning a dog that killed two kiwi. It was his fourth conviction for similar offences.
In June 2020 five dead kiwi were found at Signal Rd, Ōkaihau, and in 2018 another five were killed on Hansen Rd, on Purerua Peninsula. No one was convicted in those cases though an Okaihau resident was fined for failing to keep a dog under control.
In 2015 at least eight kiwi were killed by dogs in the Inlet Rd-Wharau Rd area near Kerikeri. In that case two owners were fined, two dogs were surrendered and a third was reportedly put down by its owner.
The 7600ha Purerua Peninsula is home to about a quarter of Northland's total kiwi population. A major pest control operation is under way on the peninsula in a bid to keep the birds safe from rats, stoats, possums and feral cats.