Hurunui College - Canterbury

Hurunui College has 'adopted' Nina Valley in the Lewis Pass with the aim of returning the valley to predator free status.  It is a long-term project, with an end goal of releasing BNZ Operation Nest Egg kiwi into the valley, and maintaining a viable breeding population in the valley.  The initial focus will be on stoat control through trapping, and undertaking kiwi listening throughout the valley.  Other species that will benefit include South island kaka and whio/blue duck.

Kids restore New Zealand has partnered with the BNZ Save the Kiwi Trust to help Hurunui College students achieve their conservation objectives of providing protection for the kiwi through trapping stoats and control of rats, possums and other predators, and to provide a secure habitat for juvenile kiwi to be released in the future.  This work will be undertaken with technical advice and guidance from the Department of Conservation Waimakariri.

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Hurunui School continued their work throughout 2010 and were able to release kiwi into the area in February 2011.  The monitoring shows that the kiwi are currently doing very well in their new environment.

 

 

 Hurunui College Trapping & Kiwi Release

 

In the summer of 2012, there was another successful release of three kiwi chicks into the upper Nina Valley. Students also put eight automatic kiwi listening devices in the lower Nina in late Autumn. The group won the prestigious Ministry of the Environment Green Ribbon Award for Communication and Education.

In 2013, the group released  a further two kiwi, as well as continuing to monitor kiwi through listening devices to see how many resident birds are in the valley.  They have also noted the successful breeding of local blue ducks (Whio) in the area. The group also won the Canterbury Aoraka Conservation Board Award – well done!

2014 presented some challenges. The ‘mast’ (seed drop) was unusually high which in turn has meant a huge amount of food for the mice and rats, which increases their population and therefore increases stoat and weasel numbers. The number of catches in traps has been huge, so lots of trips to clear traps this season! Funding from Kids Restore NZ has assisted with purchasing additional traps.

2015 has seen great participation over the summer. A wild to wild kiwi release took place in April. Kiwi were caught in the Hawdon Valley and then released into the Nina Valley. Three breeding pairs were successfully caught and transferred by helicopter to the release site. The birds were taken to their new temporary burrows. Everybody had the opportunity to get a look at the kiwi close-up before they were released into holes under trees for the rest of the day.The kiwi will be monitored every day for two weeks by Lincoln University post-graduate students to determine how they react to being placed in an unfamiliar environment; the group are confident that they will settle in quickly.