The warmer weather sees the start to a new season of Kiwi releases - Ngati Rangi

The warming sun of spring has seen the start of this season’s kiwi releases on Friday.

Born in captivity, juvenile siblings Nui and her brother Spot were flown from Orana Park in Christchurch, then driven up to the Ruapehu.

Photo: 12-year-old Jayden Webb-Milner holds one of the kiwi to be released, with help from DOC ranger Jenny Hayward. Photo: Kaye Sherwin.

Along with an invited group from Taihape and three carloads of tourists who happened to turn up just at the right time, the pair of North Island Western Brown birds were released near Rotokura Lake by Department of Conservation (DOC) staff following a karakia from Ngāti Rangi’s Fred Hawira.

The release was just one of the many ways people can get involved in national Save the Kiwi month.

The Ohakune i-Site, which has a DOC ranger on staff, is participating in the ‘Great Kiwi Morning Tea’ on 16 October.

The next day the Whakamanu Wildlife Trust is running kiwi avoidance training for dogs in Raetihi and Te Kura o Hirangi, Turangi, will be picking up a kiwi chick from Rainbow Springs and taking the chick to Tongariro Forest.

Throughout the month a quiz is being run on the DOC Tongariro Facebook page with the winner getting a kiwi release experience along with a fundraising raffle that is being run at the Ohakune i-Site for a cake donated by the Sweet Pea cafe with all proceeds being retained for the local Save the Kiwi fund.

As part of their fundraising the Whakamanu Wildlife Trust are also running a Trade Me auction where the winning bidder has the chance to head out with ecologist Kerry Oates to radio track an adult kiwi in Manunui Preserve and conduct a full health check.

Photo: There was no denying the delight of the larger-than-normal group who were privileged to witness the release of Spot and Nui as they enjoyed the opportunity to take a few photos with the kiwi and Department of Conservation’s Jenny Hayward.

This up-close experience with one of the Waimarino’s renowned giant Western North Island browns can be found by searching for the Trust with the auction closing on Sunday.