Lobster Company helps return kiwi

Submitted by editor on

17 April 2015

Fiordland Lobster Company helps return kiwi to Fiordland

Hannah Edmonds releasing Kiwi on Anchor IslandLittle spotted kiwi/kiwipukupuku are today being returned to Dusky Sound in Fiordland for the first time in more than a century thanks to the support of the Fiordland Lobster Company.

Twenty birds are being transferred from Kapiti Island north of Wellington to predator-free Anchor Island/Pukenui in Dusky Sound to start another population of this endangered kiwi.  Originally from the South Island, little spotted kiwi were present in Dusky Sound up until the late 1800s.

DOC Conservation Services Manager Lindsay Wilson says the kiwi transfer was made possible by financial support from the Fiordland Lobster Company, and is being undertaken in partnership with the Fiordland Conservation Trust, Air New Zealand and iwi.

“Thanks to the help from our partners, establishing a new little spotted kiwi population in Fiordland will help numbers of this threatened species to continue to grow.”

The kiwi were flown from Wellington to Queenstown courtesy of Air New Zealand as part of the partnership with DOC to help transport native species to safe breeding sites around the country.   

The care and kaitiakitanga of kiwipukupuku on Kapiti Island for over a century by Ngāti Toa Rangatira has enabled their redistribution back to Dusky Sound.

The birds were accompanied by Hohepa Potini, a representative of Ngāti Toa Rangatira and will be welcomed to the island by Dave Taylor of Ngāi Tahu Rūnaka o Ōraka-Aparima.

Fiordland Conservation Trust Chairman Murray Willans said the Trust was proud to support the kiwi transfer and were grateful for the assistance of the Fiordland Lobster Company.

“The return of the little spotted kiwi to this part of Fiordland puts in place another piece of the jigsaw in the restoration of the Dusky Sound environment.”

The kiwi will be monitored for their first year and if they do well, more birds will be moved to Anchor Island/Pukenui to reach a target of 45 birds.

Little spotted kiwi became extinct on the South Islandmainland in the early 1900s—and predator-free islands have become essential for its survival.    The species was first returned to Fiordland toTe Kakahu/ Chalky Island in 2008 and also lives on several other off-shore islands as well as the Karori Sanctuary in Wellington.