Friday, June 25, 2010


In 2006 Julie was awarded a Science Maths and Technology Teacher Fellowship.
She chose to work with the kiwi team.

Rowi are in our backyard - The Westland National Park.

We recommend Okarito Kiwi Tours who offer guided trips into known kiwi habitat.

For the latest information on our rowi follow this link.....

Monday, July 14, 2008

Exciting times at Okarito

Today we are lifting our first eggs of the new breeding season. These eggs have been laid quite early, so hopefully we will have a good season!

Last week we had John Wilks and Alastair Bramley from Wildtech NZ Ltd come to visit. John and Al made us our "Egg-Timer" transmitters. Now they are trialling something new and exciting.. it's called "Ear in the Air". This is when a pilot will fly a small plane around the sanctuary and a computer will get signals for all the birds wearing transmitters. We will be able to get the information from the computer, and will know which birds are incubating. This means we can monitor more birds and get more eggs!

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Transmitter changing

Hi everyone,
We've come to the end of our transmitter changes for this year. The team has been busy catching new birds, and have now fitted over 100 transmitters. The transmitters are attached to the kiwi's leg and send a signal to our reciever so we can find him. We are hoping to have a successful breeding season with more chicks produced than last year.

Keep your eyes posted for news when our first eggs arrive.

Friday, February 01, 2008

Return to the Sanctuary

Hi everyone,

We are coming to the end of the breeding season here at the Okarito Sanctuary. It's been a successful year with 21 chicks hatched, and 4 eggs awaiting hatch.

Earlier this month we brought 8 of last years chicks back from Motuara Island to return to the Okarito Sanctuary. Do you remember where Motuara Island is?

All the birds we returned are over a year old and weigh more than 1.4kg. Once a Rowi weighs over 1.2kg it can defend itself against stoats.

Here is one of the rowi settling into his new home at Okarito. He doesn't have a name yet, can anyone think of a name for him?

We will be bringing 4 more Rowi (including Okka) back to Okarito at the end of February. We will be coming through Whataroa so keep your eyes and ears open for more details if you live there.

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Hi there kiwi team
Here I am from Japan enjoying another feast.
On Saturday I gave a talk to the Kanagawa Goodwill Guides about my year with the kiwi team. Can someone from the kiwi team answer these questions for them please?

1. How long is a kiwi's life time?

Hi Julie and everyone in sunny Japan.1.We are not sure how long the kiwis can live for but there are some birds that we know from the first time we started monitoring which was a long time ago. I think one bird we know is at least 35 years old. He is called Colin and is blind and a bit scrawney but still happy!!!

2. What age do rowi become sexual mature? (Reproduction)

Kiwis can become mature as young as 2 but it usually takes a little bit longer before they are confident enough to have a teritory and a female to mate with. I think the average would be about 4-5.

This year we have a male rowi called Nemo who is only 3 and has fathered 2 eggs already! Both eggs have successfully hatched into healthy chicks, can you remember the name of the first chick hatched this season?

3. How many kiwi are you monitoring now?

I think that the kiwi team are monitoring quite a lot of birds this year but someone else might know exactly. I would say about 60-80.

That's right Richard, we are monitoring 74 birds this season, and hope to monitor 100 next season!

4. Any further updates?

I haven't been working for the kiwi team for a while now and chase dolphins and animals in the sea instead. I think that the season is going well though and there are some new additions to the list. Hope you are all enjoying Julies teaching, good to hear that kiwi birds are visiting Japan.

Stay tuned for the next post..

From Ranger Richard Kinsey DOC Te Anau
and Liz Brown from the Rowi team

Friday, November 02, 2007

Happenings in the Rowi Sanctuary

Hi everyone,

The rowi team here in Franz Josef are very excited. We already have 8 chicks and 9 eggs waiting to hatch at Willowbank. There are another 8 eggs still out in the forest to collect when they reach 30 days. When all the eggs at Willowbank hatch, we will have the same number of chicks we got last year.. and it's only half way through breeding season!

Here is Iain with the first egg lifted this season. This egg has now hatched at Willowbank and is getting very fat eating worms, we are calling him "Aotea". He weighed 303.8g when he hatched a month ago, how much do you think he weighs now?

This little chick hatched in the forest, we could not reach the egg. When they hatch we can catch them coming out to feed, we bring them back to Franz Josef and give them fat juicy worms. Soon this chick will be going up to Motuara Island with it's friends.

Questions for the kiwi workers from Ms Julies class in Japan

Aya asked: When you catch the stoats do you kill them?

Jo answered:
The stoat trap is like a big mouse trap that kills the stoat immediately.
It is put in the wooden tunnel to stop other animals and birds from being caught.
Stoats like narrow tunnels and are thin enough to squeeze into the tunnels narrow entrance. There is bait like an egg or piece of rabbit meat to attract the stoat into the tunnel.

Aya and Ms Julie replied: Thanks Jo and Liz for your updates, that was very exciting news! Do you have any more photos of stoats to post?
This week in class we wrote letters to conservation organisations here in Japan asking them how can we help?

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Kiwi update

Hi everyone. This is an x ray of a kiwi with something inside, can you see what it is? Post your reply

This season is now in full swing. We have transmitters on 54 pairs, which are keeping staff happy monitoring nests. Already we have 7 eggs and 6 chicks at willowbank with another 15 in the forest - and this is expecting to increase.

14 chicks from last season are currently still on Motuara Island, happily gaining weight. Unfortunately one was found dead, we aren't sure why.

The Kiwi Team

There are a few staff changes - Duncan and Liz are still working hard - Liz has taken over Abbies role looking after the incubation room, as Abbie has headed to the bright lights of Wellington.

Ian moved from the Visitor Assets team to the Kiwi team early this year and Josh who was a trainee ranger now has a full time role. Jo who used to work for the kiwi team has come back for a two year stint, also helping Myles with weed work.

Tuesday, February 27, 2007

More news from Motuara Island

Four more chicks were taken to Motuara Island last week, with just one remaining at Willowbank. This just had his transmitter attached.

We had a few concerns on this trip. We needed to check the chicks that had been released from previous visits to ensure that they are OK. We found seven together in one penguin burrow, but four were missing! We ran around trying to find the transmitter signal but no luck. The next day we got faint signals from two of the chicks but Okka and one other were still missing. We were worried that the transmitters had failed. As the boat was leaving we asked the skipper to take us around the island so we could try one more time .... and yes, we got strong signals for them both. Phew!

Motuara Island is not just special as as a kiwi creche; robins and saddleback have also been reintroduced there. Other birds we saw on our trip were falcon, tui, bellbird, fantail, sooty shearwater and pied shag.

Bellbird having a bath

Juvenile saddleback at the hut. Do you know what an adult saddleback looks like?

Robin checking out the kiwi box

Thursday, January 11, 2007

Okka goes North

After Okka came to visit you all, Duncan drove him to Willowbank. He stayed for one month before flying (on an aeroplane) to Blenheim then over to Motuara Island with Abbie and Liz.
Liz released him into a wooden roost box, after attaching a transmitter. Abbie will be checking him next week and we let you know how he is getting on.

Friday, December 08, 2006

Taking the chicks to their temporary island home

This is Abbie with one of the chicks she took up to Motuara Island last week.
The chicks were flown from Willowbank in Christchurch to Blenheim in an aeroplane (who said kiwi can't fly!). Then Abbie and Liz drove them to Picton, and after that they boated across to the island - whew!
Liz will keep you updated with their progress. Watch this space.

Thursday, November 30, 2006

Adventure! Our night listening for rowi in the Okarito kiwi zone....

And the winner of 'name the rowi chick' (the one you met) is.....................


Tuesday, November 21, 2006

Rowi chick visits school!

Dunc's and I enjoyed bringing the chick to school to show you. You were all so quiet. This is really important so we do not frighten the chick.

When we got to the airport the rowi chick was weighed again in it's box. Can you see the stickers that the airport staff put on the box. What do the stickers say ?

Dunc's is weighing the rowi chick carefully. Do you remember how heavy it was?

Friday, November 03, 2006

Can you see the egg in the burrow?

After we lift out an egg, we place a cross on top of it with a pencil. It must sit in the carrier the same way it did in the burrow. Can you guess why?

Lifting an egg

Here is Warren the kiwi worker.

Sometimes the egg can be found in a deep burrow, in the trunk of a big tree.
For this egg we had to track exactly where the kiwi was sitting, then dig a hatch to get it out.
Look at Warrens face. How do you think he is feeling?

Monday, October 16, 2006

A successful chick rescue from Okarito Forest

What an amazing day we have had! First we took the chick out of the burrow, put it into the bucket and took it back to base. Walking, then in the boat and in the car. Abby was at base to meet us and she made sure the brooder was ready.

Next the chick will go straight to Motuara Island.

Why do you think we took a chick, not the egg this time?

The difference between north island brown and rowi

Can you see differences between the chicks?
There are two brown kiwi and one rowi. Can you tell which ones they are?

Claire is the Kiwi Husbandry Manager at Kiwi Encounter

After candling the egg Claire measures it. What do you think she is writing down about this egg?

Kiwi hatching at Kiwi Encounter - the kiwi chick successfully hatches!

After hatching the chick stays in the incubator for 48 hours.

It dries off and learns to stand up.

After that it will be put into a brooder.

Sunday, October 08, 2006

Kiwi hatching at Kiwi Encounter

I couldn't believe my eyes when I saw this chick pipping out of it's shell! Can you estimate how old this chick is?

Kiwi Encounter in Rotorua candling the eggs

"Candling" means shining a bright light into a kiwi egg to light up whats inside. This tells if the egg is alive and how old it is.