Celebrating Kiwi ConservationHighlights from the Save the Kiwi Conference 2024

This year’s annual National Kiwi hui, run in partnership by Save the Kiwi and the Department of Conservation, took place from Wednesday, June 12th to Friday, June 14th in Queenstown. The hui, which alternates between the North and South Islands each year, attracted 130 passionate individuals dedicated to the conservation of New Zealand’s iconic kiwi bird.

The National Kiwi hui is an opportunity for those involved in kiwi conservation to come together, share knowledge, and celebrate their collective efforts. While the conference didn’t have a specific theme, its purpose was clear: to provide a platform for experts and volunteers alike to present their work, discuss challenges, and network with fellow conservationists.

Attendees were treated to a variety of keynote speeches, workshops, and presentations. These sessions covered a broad spectrum of topics, each contributing to a deeper understanding of kiwi conservation strategies and the successes achieved over the past year.

Our very own Elena and Paula from The Forest Bridge Trust’s volunteer team were asked to present a talk on Community Trapping: A Look at How to organise volunteer trap-lines to fit within a larger community engagement strategy. Their presentation offered valuable insights into the practicalities of volunteer coordination.

Ana Christmas, TFBT CEO, delivered a compelling presentation on Organisational Changes and Resilience. Her insights into the adaptive strategies necessary for effective conservation work were well received, highlighting the importance of flexibility and innovation in the face of ongoing environmental and funding challenges.

STK Hui 2024

Other notable presentations included:

Dr Helen Blackie – Associate Partner, Boffa Miskell & Critter Solutions Ltd
Helen leads many R&D projects in the pest and conservation technology space. She spoke on a range of innovations, including edge-AI traps and camera detection systems, lures, communication, and biodiversity monitoring tools. Her talk covered the results of recent field trials of these new tools and provided an overview of when they’ll be coming to market.
Nick Jones, Rewild
Nick provided an engaging overview of the real-world results and application of the Rewild F-Bomb trap used for ferret and multi-species control in kiwi conservation areas. He also gave an update on future design developments based on field learning.
Jane Tansell – Independent contractor & PhD student at Lincoln University
Jane presented her PhD research investigating systematic camera trap grids to monitor kiwi populations. She benchmarked camera trapping against standard methods, including observer surveys and acoustic recorder surveys. Jane highlighted the advantages of systematic camera trapping and discussed why this new tool should be added to the national conservation toolbox.

The conference provided ample networking opportunities, with attendees engaging in lively discussions and forming connections. The exchange of ideas and experiences among kiwi practitioners and conservation organisations is a cornerstone of the National Kiwi hui, fostering a collaborative spirit.

As the conference came to a close, attendees left Queenstown with renewed inspiration and a strengthened sense of community. The shared experiences and knowledge gained at the National Kiwi hui will undoubtedly contribute to more effective and coordinated efforts in the protection and preservation of New Zealand’s beloved kiwi.

We look forward to next year’s National Kiwi hui, confident that the dedication and passion of the kiwi conservation community will continue to drive positive change and ensure a thriving future for our national icon.