Bringing kiwi back to Southern Ruahine
IntroductionA Manawatu-based Jobs for Nature project is restoring habitat in the Southern Ruahine to bring a North Island eastern brown kiwi population back to the area.
Date: 23 March 2023
Ruahine Kiwi work to support the restoration and maintenance of the Ruahine Ranges so that kiwi and other native species can return and thrive.
The project received $930,000 through the Jobs for Nature programme to complete pest control in Southern Ruahine. The project has been running since September 2021 and has deployed and maintained trap lines covering over 20,000 ha to date.
The team have collaborated with multiple external agencies and groups and have been to be able to extend their budget by utilising these relationships. Of note is the relationship they have built with Ryman Healthcare, whose residents have built 610 traps to date.
The New Zealand Air Force also dropped 120 traps to the project area in November, saving the team many hours of labour carrying the traps to the top of the Ngamoko Range, and doubling as training for the Air Force members involved.
The project currently employs eight people ranging from part time to full time, with two teams working on the east and west of the Southern Ruahine respectively.
Ian Rasmussen, Ruahine Kiwi Project Coordinator, says the reduction of mustelids (stoats and ferrets) and other pests in the Southern Ruahine will have huge conservation benefits.
“The training provided has been beneficial for the entire team, making them safer when out in the field and gaining valuable skills”, says Ian.
“Working outdoors is great and something the team thrives on. We always get to eat our lunch with an awesome view.”
“We’re working towards the goal of returning North Island eastern brown kiwi to the area, so we need to have very low numbers of mustelids detected before we are able to release any kiwi,” says Ian.
“The mahi is progressing really well, it’s an exciting project to be a part of, and we feel good that we are helping out such an important taonga.”
The Government’s Mahi mō te Taiao | Jobs for Nature programme is a $1.219 billion investment in the creation of thousands of nature-based jobs.
As a part of this programme, DOC will allocate $488 million to projects that will create nature-based job opportunities for approximately 4,800 people over a four-year period.
It is supercharging the conservation efforts of DOC, iwi and hapū, councils, and the wider community to implement kaitiakitanga. This funding will help restore the mauri and mana of Te Taiao (our nature) by controlling pests and weeds, restoring wetlands, and returning native bush, rivers, and streams to health.
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