NZ Herald
January 2006

"Campbell scores another notable birdie"

By Tony Gee
NZ Herald
Kauri Cliffs
From an effluent drain to a new life - young Kapai was in distinguished company on the country's most exclusive golf course at Kauri Cliffs in the Far North last night as he began the last stage of a journey back to the wild.

US Open winner Michael Campbell was on hand to set Kapai, a 6-month-old brown male kiwi, on his way to a managed kiwi colony at nearby Waiaua Bay Farm.

The release was made at the golf course hole named after Campbell - Cambo's No 4.

Campbell is Kauri Cliffs' travelling pro and has been involved in golf clinics on the course in recent weeks.

In preparation for Kapai's release, the Kiwi Foundation has overseen the pest management system run by Darcy Rhodes at the colony of 20 kiwi on the farm property near Matauri Bay.

"This is a rare event. Most kiwi that are found are dead," said foundation convener Greg Blunden.

"In this case, a baby kiwi was saved from almost certain death by stoats or cats."

Kapai was raised by Dr Blunden's wife, Gay, at the Aroha Island Ecological Centre on the Kerikeri Inlet after he was found last year in an effluent drain on a dairy farm. He weighed less than 300g.

Gay Blunden said Kapai was now a "stroppy" kiwi weighing more than 1.4kg.

"We're confident he's big enough to survive well in the wild, within a managed area such as Kauri Cliffs," she said.

Campbell said he was honoured and privileged to be involved in the project.

"It's very dear to my heart. The last thing I want is to see a national icon like the kiwi extinct."

One of Campbell's two sons, Jordan, aged 5, has a favourite book called Kapai the Kiwi, by Tommy Wilson.

Dr Blunden said it was critical that kiwi were released back into the wild only in places where comprehensive pest control was in place and where it was actively promoted by land-owners.

Because most kiwi in the Far North lived on privately-owned land, land-owners had to be fully involved in protecting and encouraging them, he said.

Kapai's golf course release by Campbell is part of the Kiwi Foundation's drive to encourage private land-owners to protect kiwi.

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