Case study – Whāngārei Heads

Whāngārei Heads is a special place and over the last decade individual projects to protect the biodiversity values of the area have sprung up as landowners took up the active management needed to look after their backyards – weed control, possum trapping, community nurseries rat traps, Task Force Green weed teams, stoat trapping, fencing and revegetation projects. There are now nine active Landcare groups working at Whāngārei Heads.

The Landcare groups are represented by the Whāngārei Heads Landcare Forum (WHLF) which was formed in 2002 to help coordinate efforts and seek funding on behalf of the wider area. Since then the WHLF has led the delivery of a successful kiwi recovery project which is supported by the Northland Regional Council.

The kiwi recovery project includes an extensive kiwi predator trapping network throughout the peninsula with traps purchased using funding from the Northland Regional Council. This trapping network is helping to increase kiwi numbers with the population growing from approximately 80 in 2002 to more than 350 today.

Kiwi chick "Manex" (Photo: Whāngārei Heads Landcare Forum).Kiwi chick "Manex" – one of seven chicks hatched in the last two years by a pair of kiwi being monitored on Taurikura Ridge (Photo: Whāngārei Heads Landcare Forum).

The WHLF has also supplemented the local kiwi population with 80 more birds provided by the "Operation Nest Chick" programme and it monitors a sample of 13 adult and sub-adult kiwi fitted using radio transmitters.

Visitors attend release of two kiwi chicks.Easter 2011 at McLeod Bay – 120 locals and visitors attend the release of two more kiwi to the Whāngārei Heads.