Kiwi hold a special place in the hearts of New Zealanders. The flightless, nocturnal, intriguing native bird is a national icon and many New Zealanders refer to themselves as Kiwis.
The kiwi is a taonga (treasure) to tangata whenua (Maori, the people of the land), who have strong cultural, spiritual and historic associations with kiwi.
Kiwi are largely nocturnal birds (active at night) and are flightless, with only small wings and a small tail. They have an exceptional sense of smell and their nostrils are uniquely placed near the tip of the long bill.
|A North Island Brown Kiwi in Waimarino Forest||Where kiwi are distributed within N.Z.|
Just five percent of kiwi chicks in the wild make it to adulthood; most kiwi chicks are killed by predators including stoats, ferrets, rats, dogs and cats.
There are five species of kiwi – North Island brown kiwi, little spotted kiwi, great spotted kiwi (roroa), Okarito brown kiwi (rowi), and Southern Tokoeka. All are classified as threatened species.
The kiwi living in the Ruapehu Region are the western race of North Island brown kiwi (Apteryx mantelli). The North Island brown kiwi is classified as in Serious Decline - at an alarming rate of around six percent each year.
There is estimated to be 25,000 North Island brown kiwi remaining in Northland, Coromandel, Bay of Plenty, East Coast, Hawkes Bay, King Country, Taranaki, and Wanganui.
The Ruapehu kiwi are the western race of North Island brown kiwi of which there are estimated to be only 8000 remaining.
With help from the Whakamanu Wildlife Trust, the Tangata Whenua of Waimarino Forest, the Department of Conservation, and the local community, kiwi in the Ruapehu Region are surviving well.