Kiwi numbers in the Opua State Forest's pest control area have increased by 120 per cent in just two years, to 11 birds.

And Bay Bush Action trust whose volunteers do pest control in the forest are thrilled their hard work is paying off.

Although 11 kiwi doesn't sound very many, Brad Windust, a volunteer and trustee for the group, says, "Kiwi nearly went extinct from this forest and are certainly not out of the woods yet."

In 2011 the group could not hear one kiwi. Since then, the trust has cut 45km of track lines through the bush, raised $80,000 to buy traps, lugged in 2085 traps and set them over 200,000 times.


Volunteers have spent over 60 hours sitting in the bush at night in different spots listening and documenting kiwi, something they do every second year.

"It's not only kiwi doing well, the protected part of the forest is no longer silent but noisy with birds like tui, tomtit, kukupa and even fernbirds," Windust said. However, he cautions that large swathes of Northland forests have little or no ongoing pest control and are in a state of collapse.

He says Bay Bush Action's dream is to double the size of the area.

"But we just don't have the money to do so. What would be great is to have a philanthropist come on board to help take this essential work to the next level.

"Alternatively DoC Bay of Islands could spend the budget put aside in stalled attempts to save Whangaroa Forest into Opua State Forest. At least that way some native forest is being turned around from collapse".

So far the group has killed 2719 possums, 8327 rats, 108 wild cats, 129 stoats, and 41 weasels to allow the native forest in the pest control area come back to life.