Come behind the scenes and into the jobs, the challenges, the highlights, and the personalities of the people who work at the Department of Conservation (DOC).
Today we profile the Kiwi Recovery Group.
What’s your team’s role at DOC?
We provide technical advice and guidance across New Zealand on kiwi conservation management and monitoring. Whether it is predator control, kiwi handling, monitoring, translocations, best practice—you name it, we’ve probably talked about it. We develop and review strategic recommendations and direction for the kiwi recovery programme and help to support our partners in growing kiwi conservation.
How does this help DOC achieve our goals?
The advice and support we give helps DOC staff to contribute to kiwi recovery. We are here to support DOC staff, community groups, captive institutions and iwi to do an amazing job so that kiwi can thrive in New Zealand for generations to come.
The national Kiwi Recovery Programme is complex and exciting—there are thousands of people working to protect kiwi—from Stewart Island to the Far North, led by a combination of community, iwi, DOC and other agencies, and with a variety of management tools and regimes. With such a well connected group, we are able to make links and recommendations that take into consideration a national perspective, the latest advances and changes in science, policy, and on-the-ground management as well as decades of experience.
Having external members and a combination of technical/non-technical also means a balanced approach to technical advice; strategy development and best practice are considered.
Who is in the Kiwi Recovery Group?
The Kiwi Recovery Group is not made up purely of DOC staff! We have 12 Recovery Group members which are a mix of DOC and external specialists that help us to provide technical advice for the wide range of issues that come up in kiwi conservation and develop national strategies and plans for kiwi recovery.
What guides you in your work?
The Kiwi Recovery Plan outlines the direction for the kiwi programme over a 10 year period. This gives us a game plan of where we are going and what we need to achieve to get there.
What is the hardest part about your team’s work?
Knowing that every member of the Recovery Group is busy and we all have other jobs to do. The Kiwi Recovery Group work is on top of this—so the hardest part is trying to get high quality and often complex advice back to kiwi practitioners and DOC staff in as timely a manner as possible. With the amazing amount of work being done with kiwi throughout the country, this can sometimes be quite a challenge.
What are your team’s favourite things?
Hearing about the success of kiwi projects—incredible work being done out there by iwi partners, community groups, captive institutions, and DOC staff all around the country! It is amazing to see what can be accomplished when so many partners join forces for a common cause!
What are your team’s pet peeves?
Yet another report of a kiwi killed by a dog. Dogs are currently one of the greatest threats to kiwi—in fact they are the number one cause of adult kiwi deaths in Northland! Yet it is one of the threats that should be so easy to overcome.
Keep dogs out of kiwi habitat whenever possible as this is the only sure-fire way to keep our kiwi safe. If you must have a dog in kiwi habitat, make sure that it is aversion trained or on lead.