Distribution, Population-Changes and Management of Brown Kiwi in Hawkes Bay
- Manaaki Whenua - Landcare Research New Zealand Ltd, Private Bag 1401, Havelock North, New Zealand
- Department of Ecology, Massey University, Palmerston North, New Zealand
Historical and recent records indicate that kiwi are less numerous and widespread in Hawke's Bay than they used to be. The birds are still scattered throughout the ranges to the west and north of the region, usually at densities of about one bird per 100 ha. Kiwi have now almost completely disappeared from their former lowland habitats. The decline of kiwi in Hawke's Bay may have started before European settlement, but has been particularly rapid in the last 70 years. RePeat surveys of three populations between 1984 and 1990-91 indicate that the decline is continuing. The main cause is thought to be predation by cats and stoats on chicks and the accidental destruction of adults by possum hunters. Feral dogs may have been important earlier this century. Kiwi will not now survive in Hawke's Bay unless they are actively managed. We give several reasons why a population should be maintained within the region, despite the costs and effort of doing so, and identify the birds at Lake Waikaremoana in Urewera National Park as being the best ones to target.