For many of us, dogs are an important part of our lives – whether it’s as a pet, for work, or for recreation.
Many people like to take their dog bush – either for hunting or as a companion when tramping (into approved areas only of course!).
The kiwi aversion training programme teaches dogs to avoid kiwi when they are out in the bush.
My family has taken our Labradors tramping in the past and, even though we have only taken them to areas that are no longer home to kiwi, we have still had them attend the training, just in case. We also plan to have our miniature schnauzer trained, as he is now old enough to join us too.
Kiwi aversion training is available in many parts of the country. One of the most experienced and effective trainers is Willy Marsh, from Woodville.
Willy started training goat hunting dogs for DOC in Whanganui many years ago. He has an innate understanding of dog behaviour and uses the gentlest techniques for training the dogs. Willy also has an easy rapport with the hunters who bring their dogs to him for training. You can see the respect these people have for Willy.
A typical training course is set up in a patch of bush. It focuses first on smell, then sight and movement, then sound.
When a first timer dog approaches one of the model kiwi, it will receive a low level shock from the electric collar it is wearing. This gives the dog a fright and it becomes more tentative. Often, from that point on, the electric collar isn’t needed, as the dog is wary of the strange shapes and sounds of kiwi and skirts around them.
A dog that has done the training before will often not require the collar and has an instinctual avoidance of the kiwi.
Willy uses dead kiwi given to him by DOC for his training (he holds a permit to keep them). The birds have all died of natural causes or predation and Willy freezes the birds after each use.
Watching Willy in action is amazing. He has been dubbed ‘the Dog Whisperer’ by local media and it is a name that suits him well.
Conservation lands are places where New Zealand’s unique plants, animals and heritage are protected. Help us look after our native wildlife by taking your dog only to approved dog areas.
Below is a guide to the types of dog access on public conservation land. Access conditions can change though. Always check with the nearest DOC visitor centre for notices about dog access and track closures before you set out.
Open dog areas
Dogs are allowed either ‘off-leash’ or ‘on-leash’ depending on the site. No permit is required.
Open dog areas exist in some DOC forest parks or conservation parks, conservation areas and some historic or recreation reserves.
DOC may impose conditions, including conditions on access during vulnerable conservation periods such as bird nesting seasons.
Controlled dog areas – entry by permit
Dog access is controlled by permit, subject to approval and/or special conditions from DOC.
Controlled dog areas – no access
Dogs are not allowed in national parks, nature reserves or wildlife sanctuaries except with express written approval.
If you are on a boat with your dog, you cannot take your dog ashore to a controlled dog area, national park or nature reserve, to let it relieve itself. This includes the foreshore of any such island or land (the foreshore includes the entire beach area down to the low tide level).
Unless specified, dogs and other pets are not allowed in DOC campgrounds.
Dogs are not allowed inside any DOC hut or lodge. In some cases there may be a kennel beside the hut. If this is not the case, please find somewhere suitable outside the hut to tie your dog.
Dogs are allowed in many parks managed by city and regional councils. Contact your local government office or website for details.
Kiwi aversion training
Kiwi aversion training is available in many parts of the country, you can find your nearest training course on the Kiwis for kiwi website.