Karioi Rahui, an area of southern Mt Ruapehu, is of significance to local tangata whenua (Ngati Rangi). In a joint partnership with the Department of Conservation, the area has been designated for ecological restoration, returning it to its original state.
Enviro Research, in association with the Whakamanu Wildlife Trust, has been involved in this project in two main ways.
In an effort to meet one of the objectives of the Karioi Rahui, the re-establishment of a viable self sustaining population of N.I. brown kiwi, the company has been actively involved in “Operation Nest Egg” (a conservation strategy of kiwi recovery) to locate eggs from nests, raise kiwi chicks in captivity, and release the resulting progeny into the wild, once at a size and age where chicks can defend themselves against major predators, particularly stoats. Between 1999 and 2005, 35 chicks have been released into Karioi Rahui, and many of those chicks have now successfully bred on their own. Operation Nest Egg has been made possible largely through the fund raising efforts of the Whakamanu Wildlife Trust. (See separate page).
In addition to this the company has maintained predator control through bait station networks and trapping programmes for many years.
Waimarino Forest Kiwi Restoration Project
In 2006, Enviro Research, in association with the Whakamanu Wildlife Trust, embarked upon a new restoration project which aims to return 50 kiwi chicks to Waimarino Forest west of Raetihi, over a five year period (2006-2011). The forest, at 13500ha, is a commercial pine plantation containing several thousand hectares of indigenous forest reserve. A significant population of N.I. brown kiwi exist within the forest, and in an effort to ensure their long-term survival and breeding success the company is conducting “Operation Nest Egg” to release chicks into reserve areas and follow their progress, dispersal and survival through to adult hood. Seven chicks were raised during the 2005/2006 breeding season, and it is hoped to increase this to ten chicks per season in order to meet the target.
||Iwi representatives release kiwi chicks into the Karioi
Rahui. Chicks are then monitored closely to ensure they
survive. Survival has been boosted from 5% naturally to
85% through ONE and intensive predator controls.