October is Save Kiwi Month and Kiwis for kiwi is encouraging New Zealanders around the world to get together at school, with friends, family or at work to share a traditional Kiwi morning tea and collect donations. Funds will be used to support community-led kiwi conservation projects throughout New Zealand.
As the All Blacks represent us at the Rugby World Cup, on home soil we are debating whether a silver fern or a kiwi with laser beam eyes should adorn the new flag. Either way, it boils down to our national identity, our national pride, and how we are known on the global stage. And we are known as Kiwis.
But our namesake species is in trouble, and if we don’t make a concerted effort now to halt the decline of our national, they could be gone in our grandchildren’s lifetime.
Can you imagine what it would look like if kiwi were wiped from our existence? The kiwi is such a powerful and universal symbol for New Zealanders and New Zealand. While recognised on the global stage as the signature of New Zealand and all that it stands for, the kiwi is a part of every person who calls themselves a New Zealander.
From boot polish to banks to bacon and beer, toilet paper to trading sites, the kiwi bird has been incorporated into some of our favourite brands for the last century and stands for quality, uniqueness and quite simply, just being ours.
Sadly though, more than 95% of kiwi chicks born in areas without predator control are killed before they reach breeding age (around three years of age). But well over half survive in areas where predators are controlled.
Over 100 years ago millions of kiwi roamed the country without the threat of predators. Now the latest estimate shows only around 67,500 kiwi remain and we are losing up to three every single day.
There are over 90 community projects led by people passionate about saving kiwi, from Stewart Island to Kaitaia and it is these people who are making the difference. Hundreds of volunteers work hands-on, building predator-proof fencing, setting and clearing traps, managing local Operation Nest Egg programmes, running dog avoidance training programmes, researching and monitoring. And where they’re doing the work, kiwi numbers are increasing! We know what to do, but we need to do more of it. And for that we need your help.
While we may not all be able to dedicate our days to saving kiwi and turn large tracts of land into kiwi conservation areas, we can all do our bit. As Kiwis we are all about getting stuck in, standing together and finding a way.
October is Save Kiwi Month and your chance to join in the work to save our kiwi. Participate in the Great Kiwi Morning Tea by hosting a get together with friends, family, colleagues and collecting donations. Register or donate online at www.kiwisforkiwi.org. Every $100 raised will protect a kiwi for an entire year.