Dogs were the main players of the day at the Te Teko Rugby grounds on Easter Sunday as local hunters descended on the grounds to have their dogs run through kiwi aversion training.
Kiwi are vulnerable to dog attack and the kiwi aversion training deters dogs from showing interest in kiwi. Less than ten years ago, a lost hunting dog in Te Urewera National park killed12 out of 17 monitored kiwi.
The day was hosted by the Omataroa hunting club in association with Total Back Country Solutions Ltd and the Department of Conservation. 149 dogs and 52 hunters were put through their paces and kept certifier Tiki Hutching busy for most of the day. Local Certifier’s are highly experienced and dogs suffer no long term effects from the training other than showing a reluctance to seek out kiwi.
Te Urewera Whirinaki Area DOC Ranger Cody Thyne said “It was a great opportunity to engage with local hunters in an encouraging way. It is heartening for us to see so many hunters aware of the risks posed to kiwi and prepared to have their dog’s kiwi aversion trained. It was a long day and we appreciated people staying around to ensure their dogs were put through the programme”.
The day was hugely successful and most of the credit must go to local man Toma Dimitro, from the Omataroa Hunting Club for organising and getting the word out to people about this event.
Mr Dimitro said that, “The day was very positive and we got a lot of good feedback from hunters. Events like this are good for all of us whether we are involved with hunting clubs, Kiwi care groups or with the Department of Conservation”. He adds that “there is a realisation amongst local hunters that kiwi aversion needs to be done as people hunt all over the Eastern Bay in places where kiwi are present”.
A reminder to hunter’s that Te Urewera National Park is only open to hunting with dogs from the 1st of May until Labour weekend. To hunt with your dogs in Te Urewera National Park a kiwi aversion certificate is required. If the certification cannot be produced to DOC staff when obtaining a permit no permit to hunt with dogs will be issued.
The Department of Conservation and Total Back Country Solutions Ltd will try to run another event sometime in May at Ruatoki or Waimana.
For further detail please contact DOC on +64 7 307 2784. You can also apply for your hunting permit online.