Meet our Kiwi

Meet our Monitored Kiwi Fred and Graham

Over several years MRHLG has monitored and looked after two adult male North Island Brown Kiwi fitted with radio transmitters in the beautiful podocarp core area of the MRHLG project area, Fred and Graham.

Transmitters are small radio tags attached to a leg that send signals telling us what these kiwis are doing. They work on movement – the more active the bird, the more likely it is off the nest.

Transmitters allow us to monitor how kiwi cope with events such as habitat and nest disturbance by mammalian predators and climate change (rain and drought).

We can determine what our local kiwi are doing through the year – what time they leave their burrows at night and how long birds are out feeding. Some birds feed for over 13 hours a day in drought conditions, meaning they are out in daylight and more at risk from dogs, traffic and people.

Fred and Graham have their transmitters changed and are health checked annually. It is a great time to see a kiwi up close and learn more about how amazing they are.

When nesting begins, the signal allows us to identify the site to set trail cameras to watch the nest from a safe distance providing vital information. Cameras show newly hatched chicks venturing out into the wide world. They also have picked up stoats and pigs hassling the kiwi, sometimes resulting in nest desertion.

The radio frequency information tells us if the bird is nesting or not, for how long, what time they left their burrow last night, how long they were active for the past few nights and when they have hatched or deserted their nest. It will also tell us if the kiwi is dead or has lost its transmitter.


Fred, named after local identity Fred Barnes, a long-time supporter and inaugural member of the group, is an adult male who lives with his partner Jade. Fred’s territory is right beside the road which he regularly crosses. Fred and Jade have successfully produced a healthy chick most years despite nests close to the roadside. One year Fred hatched (in one nest) two chicks. The first clutch may have two eggs but rarely both hatches.


Named after Graham Sheard, keen conservationist and partner Matahua, meaning fertile in Maori, are our second pair. Unfortunately, Graham, a younger Kiwi, has a history of poor nest site choices and is not as successful in hatching Matahua’s eggs. This year his site is at the end of a lawn, close to humans and dogs.

Graham and Matahua have nested every year, generally twice, but have deserted quite a few times with stoats and pigs hassling him and a rotten egg being the cause. Valuable information in kiwi recovery but upsetting to see.

Adverse weather, broken eggs, and pig damage to nest sites are some reasons why kiwi such as Fred and Graham have had to abandon nests. Despite this, unless in a drought, both pairs will incubate a second egg to full term, indicating two good kiwi pairs females, laying another fertile egg and males incubating eggs.

If you have an inquiry, we would love to hear from you

Contact Us