Mana Island has proved to be a successful breeding ground for rowi, the world’s rarest kiwi species. 

Twenty juvenile rowi were first were brought to Mana Island in 2012 to breed.

In May, six members of the rowi team based in Franz Josef came to Mana Island for a population survey and health screening mission. The long term plan for the island’s population was always to move any Mana bred birds back down to South Westland, if breeding happened.

The first breeding was confirmed in 2016, so this trip was to find any more new birds, and to see what the originally transferred birds were up to.

The rowi team was able to catch 26 birds. Of these, one adult, two sub-adults, and five juvenile birds were taken off Mana and released into the Omoeroa Ranges in South Westland. Two chicks and eight adult pairs remained on Mana. 

It’s great to note that, outside of Okarito Forest (South Westland) and Blumine Island (Marlborough Sounds), Mana is the only breeding location in the world for rowi. They are doing well enough that birds have been able to be transferred back to their home range.

Thanks to the DOC rangers, Nick and Gen, on Mana Island for supplying this update.