The Otanewainuku Kiwi Trust is a community based conservation Trust formed in 2002 by Te Puke Forest and Bird, and other members of the community concerned at the decline of North Island brown kiwi in the Otanewainuku Forest.

The Trust operates under a Memorandum of Understanding with the Department of Conservation (DOC), who administers the land and provides technical advice and guidance on pest control and translocation of birds.

Kiwi released into Otanewainuku

There are many introduced predators in the bush including rats, stoats, possums, ferrets, feral cats and dogs. Predator control at Otanewainuku Forest is a mix of trapping mustelids (stoats, ferrets and weasels) and feral cats, goat culling, and an annual bait station operation to reduce numbers of rats and possums just before the bird breeding season in late winter.

The total forest area is 1200 hectares, and volunteers maintain the stoat trap lines and bait stations which cover 935 hectares of forest. Stoat traps are baited with salted rabbit meat alternated with raw hens eggs, and are checked once a fortnight in the period 1 December – 31 March, and once a month the rest of the year. The bait station operation starts in August and finishes in October to reduce pest numbers and give the best chance of our birds breeding in the forest.

While the kiwi and kokako are the main focus for predator control, all the other birds benefit too, along with bats, lizards and invertebrates. The flora also gains because fertile leaf litter, fruit and seeds are able to complete their vital life-cycle.

Check out the Otanewainuku Kiwi website – www.kiwitrust.org, or visit their Facebook page.