New Zealand In Depth clients release kiwis into the wild

Posted on Friday, January 25th, 2019 in New Zealand Holiday Blog

We are always on the look out for exciting and unusual experiences to offer our clients, but an opportunity arose this month that almost literally took our breath away.  Auckland Seaplanes were looking for guests to help catch a number of young of kiwis on Rotoroa Island in the Hauraki Gulf and then to fly with them to Motutapu Island to release them in to the wild. 

“Once in a lifetime” is a much coined phrase, but for Marieke and Jonathan Greenwood this is almost certainly spot on.  Kiwis are extremely rare and shy birds and very few New Zealanders have even seen one in the wild, so the opportunity for our clients to actually be involved in a relocation programme is very unique indeed.  We feel extremely honoured to have been approached through our sister company IDNZ to have been a part of this fantastic project.

The young kiwi that were being relocated were originally released on Rotoroa Island Sanctuary a few years ago when they were just 450 grams in weight.  They have now grown to 1.6/2.5 kg and are able to fend for themselves.  The relocation took place during breeding season and its aim was to help diversify the gene pool of the species on island sanctuaries where they are protected.  The project is part of a collaboration being carried out by Auckland Seaplanes, Auckland Zoo, Rotoroa Island and the Department of Conservation.

The opportunity for our clients the Greenwoods to get involved in the project arose at very short notice.  We were only able to make it a reality because of the strong working relationships we have with our colleagues on the ground in New Zealand.  It involved working quickly with our partners to re-arrange their itinerary and put certain measures in place.

On the day of the relocation the Greenwood’s were collected from their accommodation in Auckland and were flown, alongside a Department of Conservation (DOC) ranger, out to Rotoroa Island.  During the flight they enjoyed mesmerising views of the Hauraki Gulf and Rangitoto Volcano, the youngest of 50 in the area, before continuing on past the wine growing island of Waiheke and then landing on Rotoroa.  After capturing the kiwis the Greenwoods enjoyed another scenic flight to Motutapu where after a Maori Blessing the birds were released.

New Zealand is a magical place to travel and we pride ourselves in finding and delivering truly bespoke and individual experiences.  This is one example where our team on the ground were able to work near miracles to allow the Greenwood’s to embark on this adventure.  We sincerely hope that this trip will be the first of many in support of kiwi relocation programmes and that our team can continue to work closely to help support Auckland Seaplanes and the DOC in the work they do for kiwis.

This new experience joins a number of other activities across the country which bring together luxury travel and conservation, something we are proud to specialise in. Whether staying off grid in an all glass Purepod or supporting the control of non-native species at Okarito – there are plenty of incredible opportunities to support and get involved with New Zealand conservation.  We are grateful to our clients who enable us to make regular donations to conservation initiatives at Farewell Spit, Okarito Nurseries, WJet and Kaikoura Wildlife Centre.

You can view our video of the kiwi release on YouTube by clicking here.

For more information and expert advice on travel to New Zealand, visit, call +44 (0)1298 74040 or email [email protected].