INDEPENDENT NEWS

A new Kiwi sanctuary for Tongariro Taupo

Published: Wed 25 Oct 2000 09:01 AM
24 October 2000 Media Statement
A new Kiwi sanctuary for Tongariro Taupo conservancy from Biodiversity Strategy funding
The Minister of Conservation Hon Sandra Lee has announced that the Department's Tongariro Taupo Conservancy will be spending extra funding of nearly $1million over the next five years to establish a 16,000ha kiwi sanctuary.
The Government committed in the June Budget an extra $187 million to biodiversity protection during the next five years, from 2000—2005. In the first year, the Department of Conservation receives an extra $12million, including more than $2million to assist protection of biodiversity on private land. The Department's extra funding increases progressively over the next five years, to $48million in 2005.
Ms Lee welcomed the additional funding for the region. She said it would significantly boost the ongoing research and protection work that was being undertaken by the Bank of New Zealand-sponsored kiwi recovery programme in Tongariro and other central North Island forests.
The Conservancy’s Kiwi Recovery Project leader, Peter Morton, said: “this is tremendous news. The intention is to establish a kiwi sanctuary for the western population of North Island brown kiwi, within which the overall population is increasing, so that recruitment exceeds mortality. Population modelling suggests it will be very feasible to grow the population by at least 12% by mid 2004.”
Mr Morton said the government commitment of $178,300 in the first year of the programme, $169,000 in the second year and $167,500 in years three to five would ensure staff and resources could be maintained.
“To date, often working almost hand to mouth, we have achieved very impressive results," he said. "Dedicated staff and volunteers have spent thousands of hours tracking kiwi, collecting and incubating eggs and raising chicks until the could be released back in the forest. In all our work we have worked very closely with iwi who, like us, see kiwi as a taonga. The sanctuary is the next logical step.”
Mr Morton sees the Biodiversity Strategy as one of the most important conservation documents released of recent times and the work with kiwi, our national icon is a strong indication of how seriously the directions in the strategy should be taken.
“If the Biodiversity Strategy is to succeed it will need more than just money thrown at it," he said. "A long-term commitment by successive governments and their departments, local and regional authorities, agencies and organisations and thousands of volunteers will turn the tide of extinction on species such as kiwi.”
Media Contacts
Peter Morton, Department of Conservation, 07 892 3465 (wk)
or (07)895.4604 (hm)

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