Dedicated… Ian Tarei, is kiwi project manager for the Omataroa-Rangitaiki No 2 (Maori land) Trust and has been involved with the project since its beginning 10 years ago. 

THE kiwi is an unmistakeable national icon – a bird cherished by all New Zealand cultures and especially treasured by Māori.

Today, the kiwi is under threat with the population now numbering in the thousands and up to 27 kiwi being killed every week. 

In 2000, the presence of eastern brown kiwi and kārearea (New Zealand’s only native falcon species) was discovered through a survey of Omataroa Forest, prompting the development of a pest control plan which led to the establishment of the Omataroa Kiwi Project.

Rayonier Matariki Forests, certified under the PEFC forest certification scheme, own the pine trees in Omataroa Forest and are a key partner in the initiative.

The company works with the Omataroa Kiwi Project to provide intensive trapping, pest control management and buffer trappings to protect kiwi from predators in the forest surrounding Puhikōkō native reserve.

The project’s activities include regular predator control, monitoring, catching and tagging kiwi, and participating in Operation Nest Egg, a national program that involves removing vulnerable kiwi eggs and young chicks from the burrows until they can be safely returned to the wild without risk of predation.

Alongside Omataroa-Rangitaiki No. 2 Trust, Rayonier Matariki is providing a unique and inspirational learning opportunity for children at local school, Te Kura o Te Teko focusing on kiwi conservation and the wider biodiversity of Omataroa Forest.

Te Teko Texas Rangers with Rayonier Matariki Forests visitors… a  partnership between Rayonier Matariki Forests and the Omataroa Kiwi Project has provided an inspirational new learning opportunity for children at Te Kura o Te Teko School.

For Rob Schoonderwoerd, district forester for Rayonier Matariki Forest’s Bay of Plenty region, the survey began a 20-year relationship with the Omataroa Kiwi Project Team and the Omataroa-Rangitaiki No. 2 Trust.

“To be able to undertake the project within a production forest while harvesting and re-establishment operations are carried out illustrates the desire of all parties to make this project a success,” Rob said.

Deputy chair of Omataroa-Rangitaiki No. 2 Trust Jane Waldon says the trust’s relationship with Rayonier Matariki Forests has really blossomed over the last few years. 

“We share similar values which make for a great partnership,” Jane said.

The forest occupies 7777 ha of forest area, a mix of exotic production forest and indigenous forest (Puhikōkō) which has been set aside as a reserve by the Māori landowners. 

Puhikōkō Native Reserve is the home of the Omataroa Kiwi Project.