Archived content: This media release was accurate on the date of publication. 


Despite the best efforts of a team at Massey University, the juvenile kiwi known as “Matawai/Motu” injured by a vehicle near Gisborne last week, was euthanased yesterday.

Date:  17 October 2013

Despite the best efforts of a team at Massey University, the juvenile kiwi known as “Matawai/Motu” injured by a vehicle near Gisborne last week, was euthanased yesterday. 

Matawai/Motu underwent surgery in an effort to repair a fracture in its pelvis.  Unfortunately, during the procedure complications meant the only humane option, so the kiwi did not suffer, was for it to be euthanased says Department of Conservation (DOC), East Coast Conservation Services Manager, John Lucas. 

“We are saddened by the death of Matawai/Motu as it was hoped they would make a full recovery and be released back where found.  This experience has clearly shown just how important kiwi are to all New Zealanders and it’s nice to be able to re-assure everybody that has followed this story that to save the kiwi everything was done that could be.” 

“I would like to make special mention of the veterinary team at Massey University. Whose fantastic efforts included two and a half hours of surgery.” 

“The Department commends Corey Scott for his prompt actions in trying to save the kiwi after the accident,” says Mr Lucas. 

A post mortem will be carried out by Massey University and this may help them in the future with similar incidents.  Once this is completed the kiwi will be returned to Gisborne. 


The kiwi is under siege

Kiwi are vulnerable and our national icon is under siege. The major threats to their survival are from pests and predators, dogs and motor vehicles. 

Just one hundred years ago, there were more than a million kiwi roaming throughout New Zealand. Today there are less than 70,000. Without urgent action, kiwi numbers will continue to fall with the risk that they will disappear in the wild. 

There are other examples of how devastating cars can be on kiwi populations: several have been killed by cars in the Whakapapa Village after Kiwi Crossing signs had been taken as souvenirs, and at Ohope, near Whakatane, when people didn’t take Kiwi Crossing or Kiwi Zone signs seriously.

This incident has highlighted the need for drivers to keep an eye out for kiwi on our local roads.

The public are reminded if they find injured wildlife to contact the DOC 24 hour Hotline 0800 362 468.

Save Kiwi Week

The first ever “Save Kiwi Week” (14th-20th October) aims to raise $100,000 to protect 1,000 kiwi in the wild. It's run by Kiwis for Kiwi and anyone can get involved – including individuals, schools and businesses – fun, easy-to-use toolkits filled with activities and fundraising ideas can be found on the Kiwis for kiwi website. Plan your fundraiser now and help save kiwi!

Kiwis for kiwi

Kiwis for kiwi is the trading name of The Kiwi Trust. Established in October 2012. Kiwis for kiwi: 

  • continues more than two decades of work by BNZ Save the Kiwi Trust to help protect kiwi and the places they live. 
  • raises and distributes funds to community, DOC and volunteer groups helping save kiwi throughout the country.
  • works in partnership with the Department of Conservation (DOC) with a vision to take kiwi from endangered to everywhere.

BNZ Operation Nest EggTM 

BNZ Operation Nest EggTM is a powerful tool to reverse the decline of kiwi populations.

Eggs and chicks are harvested from nests to save them from stoats and cats. The young kiwi are returned to the wild when they weight about 1kg, big enough to fight off these predators.

More than 2000 kiwi chicks have been returned to the wild since its inception in 1994, with captive facilities and hundreds of field workers from DOC and community groups throughout the country contributing to its success. 

Whinray Ecological Charitable Trust

For further information on the Whinray Ecological Charitable Trust visit the Kiwis for Kiwi website.

Related link

Kiwis for kiwi


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Department of Conservation: Sandra Groves, Ranger Partnerships, East Coast District Office, +64 6 8690460

Kiwis for kiwi: Michelle Impey, +64 9 307 4878 or +64 29 478 4610

DOC national kiwi information: Avi Holzapfel +64 7 858 1563

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