The Friends of Rangikapiti take great pleasure in seeing people enjoying the reserve, high above Mangonui, but the greatest reward for their labours has been confirmation by Kiwi North, after years of rumour, that an adult male kiwi is living there.
"This awesome little guy is a true survivor," John Haines said.
"He resides on the Cooper's Beach side of Rangikapiti, and, as he may live to 50 years of age, ensuring his safety has become a priority.
"Recently we have received reports from a fisherman regularly leaving Mangonui Harbour in the wee hours of the morning of a kiwi calling on the Mangonui side of the reserve. It would be good to confirm this rumour as well. We may indeed have more than one kiwi in the reserve," he added.
The biggest threat to adult kiwi was dogs, and the resident dog population at Mangonui and Cooper's Beach was growing fast, as well as those dogs that arrived with holiday-makers however.
"Any dog can kill kiwi, even your mild-mannered family pooch. The smell of kiwi is almost irresistible to dogs, so we urge anyone with a dog to have it on a lead when in or near the reserve," he added.
Meanwhile Mr Haines said he saw "new" people using the tracks almost every time he visited Rangikapiti.
"Without a doubt the reserve is being visited much more this summer than ever before," he said.
"It is also obvious that one of the things needed in the near future is signs for the tracks. I think it is just about time to get some benches and picnic tables installed to take advantage of some of the spectacular viewing points around the reserve."
And once again he expressed his sincere appreciation for the efforts of everyone involved with Friends of Rangikapiti. Steady progress was being made towards achieving the goals of improving tracks, reducing pest numbers (with the aim of re-introducing locally-extinct native bird species), diversifying the flora in the reserve and educating children and youth.
"Success can be measured in the simplest of ways," he said.
"The other day I noticed masses of fresh feathers in a penguin nesting box at Karaka Bay. The box was built by the children of Mangonui School, and is now a safe home for little blue penguins.
"Ian Swindells and Brett Tercel were out in early January, installing trap stations around the reserve," he added.
"This follows on from the work Ian did together with Jaden Lewis, from DoC, of mapping the reserve, and engaging Mangonui School children to build tunnels and install chew cards to monitor pests, and thereby create a benchmark from which to measure future trapping success. Now that the new trap stations are in place it would be great if one or two of people put their hands up to help with regular trapping. Experience is not a prerequisite.
"Adrian Osborne, who moved up to the Far North from Auckland recently, is now helping regularly with trapping."
January's pest count included 16 rats, 11 possums, five mice and a weasel.
Friends of Rangikapiti was one small part of a much bigger picture though, one of 66 groups and projects from Whangārei to Te Hiku Forest that were monitored by Kiwi Coast. Ngaire Tyson had calculated that a total of 45,162 pests had been trapped by those groups and projects in 2019, taking the total for the last seven years to 342,915. The areas covered by the various groups were almost contiguous, meaning birds could range relatively safely in search of food and mates.
Friends of Rangikapiti had also recently donated surplus traps to the Doubtless Bay Landcare group, based in Cable Bay, including 20 Trapinator possum traps and 20 snappy-type stoat/rat traps in corflute tunnels.