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"Save Kiwi" week (14-20 October) starts today, raising awareness of the national treasure on the East Coast and efforts to protect and keep kiwi like "Matawai", injured near Gisborne last week, alive.

Date:  14 October 2013

"Save Kiwi" week (14-20 October) starts today, raising awareness of the national treasure on the East Coast and efforts to protect and keep kiwi like "Matawai", injured near Gisborne last week, alive.

The injured juvenile North Island brown kiwi since named “Matawai” in honour of where it was found, provides valuable information about the distribution of wild populations says Department of Conservation (DOC) East Coast District Conservation Partnerships Manager, Awhina White.

Matawai had no tags or microchips which indicates it’s a wild bird and not one reared and released in the nearby Whinray Scenic Reserve. The sex and age have still not been determined. Matawai’s condition has stabilised over the weekend and solid foods will be tried today. Vets at Massey University will now undertake a CT scan to establish if there are any internal injuries.

It is very unusual for kiwi to be found near Matawai as the closest sanctuary for kiwi is Whinray Scenic Reserve, Motu or in Ohope, Whakatane.

The kiwi work in the Motu/Matawai area is managed by the Whinray Ecological Charitable Trust with support from Raukumara Red Wild Venison. Wild populations of kiwi are known to be present in the Waioeka Gorge, Motu and a little bit outside. 

“Matawai was found in an area of open farmland where you normally find weka. This is very encouraging for the kiwi population and will help us better understand the distribution of kiwi.” 

“Kiwi are always vulnerable to vehicles as they cross roads to neighbouring habitat, but we are hoping there will be a good outcome for Matawai who is a little fighter” says Ms White.

First ever "Save Kiwi Week" runs from 14-20 October and aims to raise $100,000 to protect 1,000 kiwi in the wild. 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!

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

Background Information

  • Kiwis for kiwiTM is the trading name of The Kiwi Trust. Established in October 2012, it continues more than two decades of work by BNZ Save the Kiwi Trust to help protect kiwi and the places they live. Kiwis for kiwiTM raises and distributes funds to community, DOC and volunteer groups helping save kiwi throughout the country.
  • Our national icon – the kiwi – is under siege from stoats, dogs, cats, rats and loss of habitat. 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. 
  • 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.
  • Kiwis for kiwiTM works in partnership with the Department of Conservation (DOC) with a vision to take kiwi from endangered to everywhere.
  • For further information on the Whinray Ecological Charitable Trust visit the Kiwis for Kiwi website
  • 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 have been taken as souvenirs and at Ohope near Whakatane when people didn't take kiwi crossing or kiwi zone signs seriously.

Related link


Sandra Groves,
Ranger Partnerships
East Coast District
Department of Conservation 
Phone: +64 6 869 0460

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

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