New Zealand

Conserve Sea Bird Chicks and Kiwis

Kiwi and sea bird conservation

Play your part in a ground-breaking environmental conservation project to help save native birds, including kiwi. situated on privately owned land on the iconic peninsula of Cape Kidnappers, Hawke’s Bay.

The vision is to restore many of the plant and animal communities that existed on the peninsula prior to human colonization.

The project is being undertaken on a large scale and across a mosaic of different habitat types. It is large enough to accommodate viable populations of most forest birds (including kiwi), and the movement of species which range widely over a variety of different habitats).

The large size of the preserve enables it to potentially support at least 400+ kiwi pairs and makes it the largest kiwi area protected from predators in Hawke’s Bay.

Project update:

Seabird programmes are well underway, dune restoration work continues and the team continues to grow.

20 tuatara (native lizard) were collected from Nga Manu Wildlife Reserve in Waikanae. The tuatara, which are kindly on loan from Ngati Koata, originated from Takapourewa Island in the Marlborough Sounds. Most evidence suggests that wild tuatara have not existed on mainland New Zealand for at least 200 years.

When to help?

The best time for you to assist at the sanctuary would be early December until early January, and early March to early April.

During these dates there are seabird chicks of two species (Cook’s petrel and Grey faced petrel) on site.  The chicks have come from offshore islands where colonies still exist naturally, in the absence of predators.  You can help hand-feed the chicks on alternate days until they fledge after about three weeks and head out to sea.  Feeding involves teams of 5 or 6 volunteers each time.  It is a fantastic experience, ideal for families.

You also get to help carry the chicks from their burrows to the “Petrel Station” where they are weighed, measured and fed a “sardine smoothie”, mimicking what they would be fed in the wild by their parents.

If you come any other time of year you can assist with the day to day running of the sanctuary, which would involve pest control work (servicing bait stations, checking traps, running tracking tunnels).

Accommodation in Cape Kidnappers/Napier

luxury volunteer vacation The Farm

The sense of space here is almost overwhelming, 6,000 acres of rolling fields and grassland stretching out as far as the eye can see. In the other direction, there are the dramatic cliffs and ocean views at Hawke’s Bay, conjuring up a romantic atmosphere. The pool, spa and golf course are all great relaxation options.

Cape Kidnappers/Napier

Part of the Hawke’s Bay region, Napier has many tourist attractions, including the impressive National Aquarium of New Zealand, built in the form of a stingray. Cape Kidnappers is a nearby stretch of beautiful coastline, with farm tours and walking trails for visitors.