Your Christmas Shopping for a Song

Date posted: 04-Dec-2017

Aka - The Grand Christmas Shopping Expedition to Tiritiri Matangi Island Shop Dreading..

2018 Photo Comp opens for entries

Date posted: 27-Nov-2017

The 2018 Photo Competition is now open for entries. Click here (/2018-photo-competition-tiritiri-mat..

New reports on ruru nesting and Island conservation

Date posted: 02-Oct-2017

Two new reports have been added to the website. The first gives details of a summer students..

2018 calendars now available

Date posted: 27-Sep-2017

Our latest calendar, beautifully illustrated with images taken on the Island, is now available fo..

Guided walks for photographers

Date posted: 21-Jun-2017

For a wonderful day of wildlife photography please join us on Tiritiri Matangi Island for a Ph..

Ferry discounts for Supporters

Date posted: 18-May-2017

Tiritiri Matangi Island, the perfect winter's day trip. The birds are at their best, warm up w..

More kiwi for the Island

Date posted: 04-Apr-2017

In 1993 and 1995, sixteen little spotted kiwi were released on Tiritiri Matangi Island. The ma..

2017 Photo Competition

Date posted: 22-Mar-2017

It is that time of year again when we are looking for entries for our photo competition (and phot..

The 2017 concert

Date posted: 05-Feb-2017

This year's concert promises to be another wonderful and unique experience. Click here (/concert-..

Shorebird Film Festival at Devonport

Date posted: 26-Oct-2016

Click here (/miscellaneous documents/DevWaderFilms.jpg) for details of a forthcoming film festival c..

Little Spotted Kiwi

Scientific name:

 Apteryx owenii

Maori Name:

 kiwi pukupuku



Conservation status:

 Endemic. At risk - recovering

Mainland status:

 Probably naturally extinct


 30cm, 1.3kg (males) 2kg (females)


 30 years


 September - January


 Mainly invertebrates

First introduced to Tiri:

 16 birds in 1993

Population on Tiri:

 80-100 (July 2012)

Total population:

 1500+ (2012)

Little Spotted Kiwi - photographer: Simon FordhamDay visitors to Tiritiri Matangi are likely to see all but one of the translocated species of bird present on the Island. The one they almost certainly won’t see is the little spotted kiwi because, like all Kiwi, they are nocturnal. For those fortunate enough to spend the night on the Island, a night walk can be a most rewarding experience. As the Kiwi population grows and the birds become increasingly tolerant of human presence, the chance of an encounter has gone from being a possibility to a probability.

Five pairs of little spotted kiwi were released on Tiri in 1993, followed by six more birds two years later. A 1997 census showed the birds were breeding well with a population of around 25. This included the largest ever little spotted kiwi recorded at the time, a female weighing almost 2kg (this has since been surpassed on Tiri).

Endemic to New Zealand, there are also four other distinct species of kiwi. By far the most common are the brown kiwi (in the North Island) and tokoeka (on Stewart Island). The others are the rowi, which is by far the rarest kiwi species, and the great spotted kiwi. The little spotted is the smallest species of  kiwi. The only certain populations are on offshore islands, with most of these on Kapiti Island. 

Despite being our national symbol, the kiwi is rarely seen outside of captivity. It is a tragedy that, without outside help they are expected to all but disappear from the mainland within fifty years. The reason for this is predation. Although adults can generally fend off attacks from all but dogs, other predators, particularly stoats, wreak havoc on nests and juvenile populations. Juveniles leave their parents very early and it is believed that only 1-5% survive their first year. There is some hope however, thanks to 'Operation Nest Egg', a programme whereby eggs and juvenile kiwi are removed from the wild and raised in captivity. They are then released into their original habitat when large enough to fend for themselves.

On Tiritiri Matangi, there is a census of little spotted kiwi every five years. In July 2012, 32 individual birds were caught and a further three were seen. Four of the captured birds were from the original translocation in 1993. The estimated total population for the Island is 80-100 birds, a 38% increase on the 60-70 estimated in 2007. During the 2012 survey, five males were found incubating eggs. These are the earliest nests ever recorded for little spotted kiwi, two months earlier than expected.

Find out more about little spotted kiwi at New Zealand Birds Online.

Photography by
 Simon Fordham ©