The Nina Valley Restoration Group has introduced eighteen kiwi into the Nina Valley since 2009. All of these kiwi were sourced through the Operation Nest Egg (ONE) programme, from eggs that originated in the Lake Sumner/Arthur’s Pass region, or from wild-to-wild transfers of adult birds from the Hawdon Valley.
Operation Nest Egg is a programme through which kiwi eggs are recovered from the wild, and hatched and reared in captivity (e.g., Willowbank). When the kiwi chicks exceed 1kg in mass they are generally big enough to defend themselves from stoats and are released back into the wild. There are five kiwi residing close to the Nina Hut. Their names are Bella, Feisty, Ora, Miro, and Mamakau. These five were the first kiwi released into the Nina.
Kiwis can now be heard at night from the swingbridge right up to the biv.
The released kiwi carry transmitters and are regularly monitored. Kiwi can be monitored from a distance by analysing a UHF signal emitted by the transmitters. The signal can tell us if the birds are alive or dead, and even if they are sitting on an egg. The transmitters are also used to locate the birds. Occasionally we will locate the released kiwi and take some measures to ensure that they are in good health. We measure body mass, beak length, body condition, and we check that the transmitter is securely fitted.