The male kiwi Te Matau was one of the original nine great spotted kiwi/roroa moved into the park’s Rotoiti Nature Recovery Project area from Kahurangi National Park in 2004. He had been a steady breeder, fathering many of the kiwi chicks born in the Rotoiti area.
Te Matau was found dead by a member of the public on the Honeydew Walk by Lake Rotoiti.
DOC Nelson Lakes senior biodiversity ranger Nike Joice said Te Matau had injuries indicating he had been attacked by a dog but a necropsy was to be carried out at the Massey University Veterinary School to confirm the cause of death.
“It’s distressing to lose a kiwi when it was avoidable as a dog shouldn’t have been in the national park. It’s particularly a blow to lose a good breeder like Te Matau when we have worked so hard with community and iwi support to build the roroa population in Nelson Lakes.
“Dogs are a known killer of kiwi and are not allowed in Nelson Lakes National Park. We ask people to help us protect Nelson Lakes’ kiwi by not taking dogs into the park and by keeping dogs under control in the area so they can’t roam into the park.
“We aim to prosecute anyone who commits the offence of taking a dog into the national park and there are penalties of up to a year in prison or a fine of up to $10,000.
“Anyone whose actions cause the killing of a kiwi could be prosecuted under the Wildlife Act with penalties of up to two years in prison and a fine of up to $100,000.”
The Rotoiti Nature Recovery Project is restoring honeydew beech forest over approximately 5000 hectares. This is being achieved through an extensive predator trapping programme and the area is managed as a "mainland island".
The project’s success is evident when walking through the beech forest with a resounding chorus of bellbirds, mistletoe becoming more visible and small groups of kaka being spotted.
Roroa/great spotted kiwi have been reintroduced since 2004. The kiwi have been breeding successfully and now number 29.