Kiwi crew work to bring back call of kiwi in forests

Kiwi crew work to bring back call of kiwi in forests

We all know our kiwi are in trouble. In fact, we're losing 1000 birds each year to predators like stoats, and that's more than 2 percent of the population.

But in the forests between Whakatane and Rotorua, they are making a comeback, and it's thanks to one man and his band of merry conservationists.

Ian Tarei knows a thing or two about protecting our national treasure from pests.

He's been trapping the animals since he was young, and for the past nine years he has been part of a bid to save the kiwi in the Omataroa forest.

Mr Tarei and his crew has been in charge of protecting the birds across 11,000 hectares of Maori-owned land, and kiwi had all but disappeared until they stepped in.

The programme takes eggs, incubates them, grows them to about one kilogram and releases them back into the wild.

"We've reversed the decline anyway, put it that way. They've been doing surveys right at the start and no young birds were coming through. As soon as we started this programme, the surveys are telling us numbers have exploded pretty much," says Mr Tarei.

But as Story found out, it has been a hard road getting to this point, with the crew relying on possum trapping until they received funding.

Watch the video for the full Story report.