The National Kiwi Hui, organised by Kiwisforkiwi took place near Whangarei in May. Convenor Steve Scott and Trustee Bruce Jarvis represented Whakaangi.
The two day event was jam-packed with expert speakers and loads of sharing of experience, tips and tricks from the 60 kiwi projects represented. Keynote speaker, Al Bramley from Zero Invasive Predators dangled the tantalising prospect of a completely predator free peninsular (the concept gaining gasps of admiration for its bravura when we understood the peninsular in his mind was the whole of either the North or South Islands!).
There was a ton of technical information on offer as experience on new trapping, baiting was offered and concepts like greater understanding of pest behaviour in order to better eradicate were showcased.
National Kiwisforkiwi Co-ordinator Michelle Impey highlighted that this October is again going to be National Save Kiwi Month and threw down the challenge for us all to use October as an anchor month for our advocacy activities. We will certainly be taking up the challenge!
Martin Hunt from Whangarei's impressive Backyard Kiwi project gave us an insight into how their excellent advocacy and community work has allowed them such a strong connection with their local communities that when they put the call out to help them lay 1080 in bait stations on Mt Manaia over 70 enthusiasts turned out.
Our very own project advisor Wendy Sporle gave a spirited reminder to us all of the dangers of dogs to kiwi and how very tricky it can be to achieve good awareness in local communities.
We were heartened by achieving a greater understanding that most projects around the country, like ours, are predominantly based on private land. In one case that recently came to national prominence the project is just one large farm (Kapiti Kiwi), meaning one single farming family is driving a whole project. What was common was the ever-present need for funding, the constant challenge to achieve a strong understanding and connection with local communities. It was interesting to note that a significant number of projects were being successful in expanding their project areas. This is something that we would like to achieve with Whakaangi.
The Hui threw up quite a number of challenges for us to work on. We came back with strong resolve around:
* reinvigorating our brand and our "public name"
* building a programme of work and advocacy that will provide a platform for us to build much stronger relationships with our local communities
* create much greater advocacy programmes and have more opportunities for people to connect with us and kiwi
* create a long term plan to expand our project area and to spread our great outcomes to ever-wider kiwi populations and biodiversity ecosystems
* do more work to understand our kiwi population (and other species) in greater detail.
We look forward to keeping you posted on these projects as we progress.