Thames Coast Kiwi Care

About Us

Fact Sheet


Find us on FB:

Post : PO Box 396 Thames

Contacts: ·
For information and joining: 

Ric Balfour  (0210669272) or

Joanne Richards (0272124622) or·   
Ric Balfour (021 066 9272)  or DOC Kauaeranga, (07 8679080)

The Goal

By removing mustelids and educating the local communities, our primary goal on both private and DOC land is to enhance the conditions for kiwi already living there to the point where they represent a viable, self-sustaining population.

Why is the work necessary?

The Coromandel brown kiwi is seriously declining in places where predators are not controlled. For instance, Kiwi surveyed south of the Kopu-Hikuai Rd area in the 1990s were not found in surveys in 2014. The worst kiwi predators are ferrets and stoats, but uncontrolled dogs also pose a problem. Trapping for stoats and ferrets will increase the survival rate for young kiwi. Just a 20% survival rate for kiwi chicks is enough to ensure the population is stable. More than this will increase the population!!

Who are we?

Thames Coast Kiwi Care was set up by the Thames Coast Protection Society in 2006, with support from DOC. We are an Incorporated Society registered with the Charities Commission (CC40090), and fundraise with an annual concert and auction and through stalls in Thames. Membership is more than 120. We have 36 volunteer trappers, and a dedicated committee which meets monthly. We welcome new supporters, members, and volunteers.

Where is the project area?

We operate within approximately 2,300 ha of private and DOC land behind Te Mata and Tapu.

Are dogs allowed in the Kiwi Project Area?

Dogs are a major threat to both adult and juvenile kiwi. Private landowners decide whether dogs are allowed on their land, but any dog entering the DOC estate must be Kiwi Aversion Trained (KAT). Your dog(s) can receive free KAT at various locations around the Coromandel. Please contact DOC or watch for local notices as to when and where you can receive KAT for your dogs.

Private landowners

Private landowners can choose to be part of the project if they wish to be, and approve anything that happens on their land, including the number and location of traps and who has access to their land via an agreement or Memorandum of Understanding (MOU). The group does not interfere with landowner’s rights.

Trap information

We use DOC 200 traps in wooden boxes to target stoats and Connibear traps for feral cats. Traps are serviced and baited with eggs or rabbit lure, once a month in winter and fortnightly in summer.  Traps are checked mostly by volunteers. Our paid Coordinator liaises with trappers, the community, and agencies, and also audits trapping gear and trap lines, manages rosters and collates trapping data.

Operation Nest Egg (ONE)

Kiwi chicks are particularly vulnerable to stoats. Now in use nationwide, a process has been developed in which the kiwi’s eggs are harvested just before hatching, incubated and hatched, and the young chicks released into temporary predator-free safe havens. When they reach the target weight of approximately 1200 grams, they can be released back into their home territory with a much better chance of survival. Thames Coast Kiwi Care became involved in ONE in 2014 and the first release of juvenile birds back in Te Mata will occur in early 2016.

One of our kiwi practitioners, Tommy Herbert (seen in this photo) locates birds with his dog and attaches transmitters to male birds to help with the later harvest. 


  • 2006. A kiwi protection project is proposed by members of the Thames Coast Protection Society.
  • 2006. A kiwi listening survey is undertaken and records 19 Coromandel Brown Kiwi.
  • 2007. Starting with 200 stoat traps, we gradually increase coverage, and now (2015) service 561 traps over more than 100 kilometres of tracks in 2300 ha.
  • 2011. Subsequent Call Count Survey identifies 18 pairs of birds.  
  • 2014. We start Operation Nest Egg in partnership with Auckland Zoo and Rotoroa Island Trust.
  • 2014-15. First 12 eggs taken to Auckland Zoo, the chicks later transferred to Rotoroa Island.

How can I find out more?

Contact Ric Balfour (0210669272) or Joanne Richards (0272124622) They can provide you with a membership form or you can join on-line here.

Get involved!

We welcome help from anyone keen to protect kiwi. If you are fit and enjoy the outdoors, consider joining our volunteer trapping team. There are also opportunities to help with administration, fundraising, community contacting and social functions.


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