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Trust’s 100th Kiwi Chick Released by Rachel Hunter

12 February 2012

Takamoana, a one kilogram juvenile male North Island brown kiwi, was released into thick bush in the Maungataniwha Native Forest on the weekend by New Zealand model, actress and mother Rachel Hunter. Takamoana was named after an influential local Maori chief in the 1800s, Karaitiana Takamoana, who was also the great-great-grandfather of Simon Hall, executive Chairman Tasti Products Ltd and the driving force behind the Forest Lifeforce Restoration (FLR)Trust.

Ms Hunter, a keen and vocal advocate for conservation projects around the world, was installed as the FLR Trust’s patron at this weekend’s event. Ms Hunter has been helping save Gorillas around the world for more than a decade but a chance meeting with Mr Hall, resulted in the kiwi model bringing her help closer to home. “That our grandchildren may never see a Kiwi or a Kakapo is terribly sad” said Ms Hunter, talking to the NZ Women’s Weekly “We are in danger of losing the very bird we are named after.”

Takamoana was the 100th kiwi to be hatched and released into the wild by the FLR Trust. The organisation which resulted from the unexpected discovery of a small remnant Kiwi population on Mr Hall’s block of native forest in the Hawkes Bay. Mr Hall has brought his management experience from Tasti to the trust, ensuring the best specialists in their fields are working together to get the best results. It’s an approach that has the program fast carving out a name for itself as one of the most prolific and successful kiwi conservation initiatives in the country.

“Normally we’d expect the rearing and release of this many kiwi to take twice as long,” said Michelle Impey, executive director of BNZ Save the Kiwi Trust. “The FLR Trust team have got it down to a fine art and it’s wonderful that some of the chicks released three or four years ago are now breeding themselves – further adding to the population.”
DOC Conservator for the region Alan McKenzie acknowledged the FLR Trust as a conservation leader and an outstanding example for others. “We see DOC’s role as facilitating this, and working with organisations such as the FLR Trust to establish the framework for a national model,” he said.

The Trust is marking its fifth season using BNZ Operation Nest Egg, a method which sees kiwi eggs rescued from the wild, incubated in a safe environment and the resulting chicks released when they’re large enough to defend themselves against stoats.

To find out more about the Forest Lifeforce Restoration Trust click here 

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