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


Dog owners in Hawke's Bay can sign up for workshops to train their dogs to avoid kiwi.

Date:  08 March 2017

If you’re keen to take your dog onto conservation land, DOC suggests you do our native species a favour and enrol your dog in kiwi-avoidance training. 

While we don’t tend to think of our furry companions as predators, dogs are one of the most significant threats to kiwi. Any dog – regardless of size, breed or temperament – can pose a threat. Unfortunately, encounters between the two species too often end with the death of the kiwi. 

Willy Marsh is a kiwi aversion trainer and will be conducting workshops during March, April and May in Hawkes Bay and April at Waikaremoana. Willy says any form of prevention helps to enhance the survival of our native birds.

“DOC and Kiwis for kiwi have teamed up to develop an avian (bird) awareness and avoidance training programme. The programme trains dogs to avoid New Zealand’s ground-dwelling native birds, while at the same time educating their owners about best practices for bringing dogs into the bush. 

“The goal of training is to lessen the risk dogs pose to kiwi,” Willy explains. ‘Training is followed up by testing continued avoidance within twelve months of the original training.’ 

Kiwi aversion training is one of the variety of methods that DOC use to try and protect our precious native bird. The urgent need to safeguard kiwi means embracing a variety of innovative approaches. 

Wellington man Martin Robertson has put his two dogs through Willy Marsh’s training, and speaks highly of it. 

“The only thing it has changed is how the dogs react to a kiwi smell or sound. They still show keen interest in other birds.  I’d recommend this training to anyone with dogs.  

“Even if you don’t hunt it’s an awesome thing to do with your dog to reduce the chances of them chasing kiwi.” 

For interested dog owners, Willy Marsh’s workshops are being conducted on the following days: 

  • Hawke’s Bay:12 March, 2 April, 21 May.
  • Waikaremoana: 29 April. 

Additional dates and locations can be created if there is enough interest 

To register your interest, contact Kelly Eaton (contact details below). Details regarding location will be confirmed once there are enough registrations. A charge of $20 per dog applies.


Kelly Eaton, DOC Biodiversity Ranger
Mobile: +64 27 446 2088

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