Waiotahi kiwi

Waiotahi forest, located in the Waiotahi Valley southwest of Opotiki, is a known hot spot for the North Island brown kiwi. Kiwi are known to often inhabit pine forests, which themselves harbor diverse invertebrates as a food source, as well as also containing patches of native bush that serve as habitat.

Since PF Olsen commenced harvesting within Waiotahi forest in the mid 2000s, it was well recognised that the area would require special planning to accommodate the kiwi known to be in the area. Between 2006 and 2008, several breeding pairs and eggs were uplifted from the forest by the Department of Conservation and transferred to a predator-free island.

More recently, PF Olsen engaged the expertise of the Whakatane Kiwi Trust (WKT) to carry out kiwi surveys in mid 2013 within the plantation that was scheduled for harvesting in the upcoming year. Several birds were identified close to the forest- including a pair that was in the process of setting up its nest within the standing pine trees.

Subsequent harvest planning created a harvesting exclusion area that ensured that the pair was left in peace to continue its breeding cycle with a generous buffer area. The male kiwi, who sits on the nest, was fitted with a transmitter and monitored throughout the incubation period by the WKT. Earlier this month, the WKT, with support from Upokorehe, arranged for the egg to be uplifted just before hatching, and transferred to Rainbow Springs kiwi conservation centre in Rotorua for hatching. Discussions between the WKT and Upokorehe will determine the final home for the young kiwi when it hatches.

PF Olsen would like to acknowledge Upokorehe and the Whakatane Kiwi Trust for providing guidance and support, and look forward to further opportunities to work with them to preserve this iconic New Zealand native bird.

Mr Kiwi having his transmitter reset, after a productive breeding season.

The kiwi egg about to begin the journey to Rainbow Springs in Rotorua.