Kiwi Coast – Northland Regional Council Partnership

5 Sep 2017, 1:57 PM

An ambitious goal to create the nation's first large-scale kiwi-safe 'ecological corridor' – linking Northland brown kiwi populations over almost 300km of the region – is fast becoming a reality.

A newly-signed partnership between the Northland Regional Council and the Kiwi Coast Trust formally consolidates an existing strong working relationship between the pair.

Kiwi Coast is a community-led collaborative linking a variety of landcare and pest control projects stretching from Mangawhai in the south, to the Aupouri Peninsula in the Far North.

It links conservation projects, iwi and hapu, landowners, farmers, forest management companies, government agencies and schools which share a desire to boost kiwi numbers and create a ground-breaking linked corridor of kiwi-safe areas. Kiwi Coast is also working to improve Northland's general biodiversity values.

Pete Graham, Ngaire Tyson and Bill Shepherd with a Northland brown kiwi.Pictured during a recent ceremony to mark the new partnership are from left, regional council Biosecurity Specialist Pete Graham, Kiwi Coast Coordinator Ngaire Tyson and regional council Chairman Bill Shepherd. They're pictured with 'Kharma', a female Northland brown kiwi, who was undergoing a routine health check in the area.

Kiwi Coast Coordinator Ngaire Tyson says the partnership – signed at Pataua North Monday, 4 September – builds on more than 20 years of successful community-led kiwi recovery work and will help both parties with their mutual biodiversity and community goals.

She says to date, 96 entities have linked into the Kiwi Coast (73 of which are community-driven landcare groups) and collectively, these groups and projects are already carrying out pest control over more than 130,000 hectares.

"Under the new partnership, Kiwi Coast will bring a cost-effective, community-driven model for connecting communities and enhancing Northland ecosystems," Ms Tyson says. "Collectively Kiwi Coast groups are already contributing more than $500,000 worth of volunteer labour annually."

Regional council Chairman Bill Shepherd says the council – which has itself been championing community-led pest control and kiwi recovery for many years – will in turn provide a number of resources (both practical and financial) to support Kiwi Coast.

"We already contribute roughly $300,000 a year through various funding streams to a number of community pest control projects within the Kiwi Coast area. Under the new agreement, we'll now make an additional contribution of almost $90,000 annually to the trust itself over the next five years to help with the project's coordination."

Chairman Shepherd says Kiwi Coast has a truly impressive reach across a big swathe of the region, making it one of the largest community-led restoration projects of its type in the country.

"Council is proud to be able to contribute to Kiwi Coast's ongoing successes and everyone involved looks forward to a day – hopefully not too far away – when kiwi will be able to roam safely and freely across the Kiwi Coast."