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Thames Coast Kiwi Care is a long term community driven project which has the support of mana whenua Ngāti Tamaterā. Our primary goal is to help wild kiwi thrive by engaging the community to protect and enhance the kiwi population and their precious habitat.

TCKC was set up by the Thames Coast Protection Society in 2006, with support from the Department of Conservation Te Papa Atawhai, Ngāti Tamaterā, and local landowners.

TCKC is almost entirely volunteer run. We have a dedicated crew of volunteer trappers and supporters and a governance committee. We welcome new members and volunteers and appreciate the support of our partners and sponsors.

Why is this work necessary?

Kiwi in the Coromandel are seriously declining in places where predators are not controlled. Kiwi surveyed south of the Kopu-Hikuai Rd area in the 1990s were not found in surveys in the early 2000’s. The worst kiwi predators are ferrets and stoats, but weasels and feral cats also pose huge problems.

Our mahi is contributing to the nationwide mobilization to reverse the 2% annual decline in kiwi populations, and, a ten fold increase in our local kiwi population.

The project area also suffers from invasive possums, rats, and other browsing mammals. In our indigenous forest ecosystems, everything is connected. New Zealand Aotearoa’s remnant forests can only survive and flourish by conservation efforts adopting a whole-of-ecosystem approach.

With funding from the Waikato Regional Council we are now undertaking a major expansion adding predator control of rats and possums for habitat protection.

Where is the project area?

We operate within approximately 5,000 ha of private and DOC land behind Te Mātā, Tapu and Waikawau.

Are dogs allowed in the kiwi project area?

Dogs are a major threat to both adult and juvenile kiwi. Private landowners decide whether dogs are allowed on their land, but any dog entering the DOC estate must be kiwi aversion trained. Your dog(s) can receive free kiwi aversion training at various locations around the Coromandel. Please contact DOC or watch for local notices as to where and when you can receive kiwi aversion training for your dogs.

Trap types and maintenance

We use DOC 200 & DOC 250 traps in wooden boxes to target mustelids (stoats, ferrets & weasels) and SA2 traps for feral cats. Our team of volunteer trappers aim to check our traps fortnightly all year round. Our paid coordinator supports trappers, laises with the community, agencies, services trapping gear, manages rosters & collates & reports trapping data and fine tunes the methods to support best practice trapping.

More detail

Our regular newsletters for members and community are a great resource documenting project milestones and history, and our facebook posts help keep you right up to date.

Latest information

For the latest facts and figures on the project, view our most recent annual reports.

Operation Nest Egg

Operation Nest Egg (ONE) is a kiwi recovery tool established in 1995 in response to the alarming fact that only one in five kiwi chicks survives in the wild.

Now in use nationwide, ONE involves the locating and harvesting of kiwi eggs from adult kiwi with transmitters. The eggs are uplifted just before hatching and taken to specialised kiwi incubation facilities and further incubated until hatching. Once hatched the chicks are released into temporary predator-free safe havens (in our case Rotoroa and Motutapu Islands). When they reach the target weight of approximately 1200 grams they are able to fend off stoat attacks and can be released back into their home territory with a much better chance of survival.

Thames Coast Kiwi Care became involved in ONE in 2014 in order to rapidly boost our tiny fragile kiwi population. Auckland Zoo and Rotoroa Island Trust have worked with us for the last 9 years. Our ONE project is currently managed and funded by Save the kiwi.

Neil John and Natalie Sinclair - Operation Nest Egg
Neil John and Natalie Sinclair

We have raised 106 ONE kiwi from eggs uplifted from our project area.

55 kiwi have returned to Te Mātā from the Rotoroa Island creche, and 25 more have been released on Rotoroa Island and are due for return in 2023.

Another 29 kiwi have been released on Motutapu Island where they will remain. Once the island is fully stocked with kiwi, their chicks will be returned back to the Coromandel each year.

Neil John (TCKC ONE kiwi handler) and Natalie Sinclair (Auckland Zoo Senior Bird Keeper) have tramped across all terrain in all weather locating male kiwi sires with transmitters, in order to uplift eggs at around 65 days of incubation, and transport them to Auckland Zoo for hatching. Health checks and transmitter changes are also carried out for the kiwi by the qualified handlers.

To have successfully raised 106 kiwi chicks from a local population of only about 28 adults in 2006 is a great tribute to the team’s work!

Saving Kiwi is what we accomplish together

Thames Coast Kiwi Care gives our heartfelt thanks to everyone supporting our mission of preserving Kiwi on the Thames Coast.

Mana whenua
Ngāti Tamaterā home
Our partners
Save the Kiwi home
Waikato Regional Council home
Department of Conservation Te Papa Atawhai home
Auckland Zoo home
Rotoroa Island Trust home
Our Major Donors

Betty Holmes and the Estate of Warrick Holmes


Leigh McIntyre & Clive Monds

Rachel Holmes Photography

Seagull Centre Trust

Veronica Martin

Andrew Crowe

22 degrees Building Engineering Services home
A2Z Translate home
Glenn Tanner, Bayleys Thames home
Coromandel Distilling Co. home
Fairview Windows & Doors Thames home
ITG Pointer Investment (NZ) Limited
Mitre 10 Thames home
Ott's Egg Company
PK Fasteners home
Placemakers home
Read Bros. Hardware home
Tapu Camp home
Trust Waikato home
Twentymans Funeral Directors home
Waiomu Beach Cafe home

Also a big thanks to everyone who has donated to TCKC over the past year and all our valued regular donors who give via Automatic Payment.