Cash boost for kiwi recovery programmes

BENN BATHGATE
Last updated 18:07 07/08/2014
Nick Smith, Bear the Kiwi and Emma Bean.

BEAR NECESSITIES: Nick Smith, Bear the Kiwi and Emma Bean.

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It's one hell of a nest egg.

Environment Minister Nick Smith used a visit to Rotorua's Rainbow Springs Kiwi Encounter to announce $744,000 in Government funding for Kiwis for kiwi, as well as getting a chance to get up close and personal with our national bird.

The Community Conservation Partnership Fund cash will be used to support 80 community-led kiwi recovery programmes around New Zealand. 

''Kiwis once numbered in their millions but with predators and the loss of habitat now number 70,000. They will not exist outside of island sanctuaries for our grandchildren,'' Smith said.

''That is not an acceptable scenario.''

Smith said too few New Zealanders realised the extent to which the country's national bird is in trouble, with 95 per cent of young kiwis not surviving to breeding age.

He said the kiwis main foes; rats, stoats and possums, were ''public enemies number one, two and three.''

Smith also praised the work of Kiwis for kiwis, saying the cash injection would allow the organisation to employ a mentor for advocacy and for working with iwi and a Northland regional kiwi co-ordinator, a region he said had the most potential to maintain a viable wild kiwi population.

''Saving the kiwi is going to require that we empower communities all over New Zealand. This grant will help with work like kiwi avoidance training for dogs, training volunteers for kiwi call count monitoring, supporting trapping and predator control operations and helping communities understand the vulnerability of their local kiwi populations.''

''Delighted is probably an understatement,'' said Kiwi for kiwis executive director Michelle Impey, adding that the grant will help them close in on a target of a two per cent kiwi population gain.

''It's not going to be easy but it gives us a measurable goal,'' she said.

The Community Conservation Partnership Fund was announced in March this year and provides $26 million over the next four years to community organisations undertaking natural heritage and recreation projects. 

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- Fairfax Media

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