Auckland Airport is giving $10,000 each to 12 charities as part of its annual 12 Days of Christmas initiative. The Herald is profiling each initiative in the lead up to the big day. The $120,000 came from change dropped off by travellers at the airport this year.

Kiwis for kiwi is a national charity that supports community and iwi-led kiwi conservation projects.

As the name suggests, the charity is all about New Zealanders contributing to the survival of our national icon.

Working alongside the Department of Conservation since 1991, Kiwis for kiwi have built a network of over 100 community-led projects. One such project is the kiwi population they are building up on Motutapu Island.

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Working with iwi on the Coromandel Peninsula, the Motutapu Restoration Trust and Ngai Tai ki Tamaki, the groups hope to have as many kiwi on the island as it can support.

"Motutapu Island has become a critical element in not only sustaining a species of kiwi (Coromandel Brown kiwi), but in giving us the chance to rebuild the population," manager of the Kiwis for kiwi Ross Haplin said.

Haplin said the trust would use the money from the Auckland Airport grant to help find kiwi on the Coromandel Peninsula.

"Using specially trained dog handlers and dogs, we will locate male kiwi and put transmitters on them. These will be monitored and when we find that they are sitting on eggs we will go and rescue the eggs and take them to incubation facilities. The chicks will ultimately be released onto Motutapu," he said.

When the island cannot house any more kiwi — expected to be about 2025 — due to its limited resources, offspring will be transported back to predator-free areas of the Coromandel Peninsula.

"By doing this we will significantly increase the overall number of Coromandel Brown kiwi, provide a secure secondary population, and pave the way for other native species restoration programmes," Haplin said.

Anna Cassels-Brown, Auckland Airport's general manager of people and safety, said the airport was happy to help an organisation that cared for the national icon.

"Many of the travellers our airport team welcomes to New Zealand over the holiday season are hoping to spot a kiwi.

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"So we're pleased to support a charity that's protecting our national bird and helping us all learn more about this taonga," she said.