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Archive for 'kiwi'

Protecting the Bride: The Inspiration

Much of Stewart Island is uninhabited and still covered with native bush, making it a haven for many of our native birds.

Ulva Island is a bird sanctuary where some of our most endangered birds have been released and are thriving. It was a thrill and a privilege to wander through the bush and spot some of our rarer birds.

Ulva Island

The beach near the boat landing on Ulva Island.

Weka

A weka strolling along the beach.

Black Robin

A black robin, an endangered NZ bird.

Ulva Bush

The Clematis is a vine that climbs through the trees, and it is a member of the buttercup family. The flowers are white.

Shelley on Ulva Island

Shelley hugging a rimu tree on Ulva Island.

Native wood pigeon

A native wood pigeon.

Bellbird

Bellbird

The bellbird, one of NZ songbirds.

Tui

The tui is one of New Zealand’s more adaptable birds, and it is common in most parts of NZ. It’s still a very cool bird, and there were lots of them on Stewart Island.

Stewart Island is also one of the best places to go kiwi-watching. We went out at 9:00 pm and traveled to an uninhabited part of the island via boat. It was just amazing watching and hearing the kiwi feed. They didn’t seem to notice us and were unaffected by the special red light the guides use to help people spot them.

Kiwi

In my upcoming release, Protecting the Bride, Cullen and Grace visit Ulva Island to go birdwatching. They also spend an unforgettable evening looking for kiwi.

Protecting the Bride is available for pre-order and is out on 17 August 2021.

A Trio of Kiwis

A Trio of Kiwis

Earlier this year my husband and I went on a cruise around the coast of New Zealand and over to Australia. Most of the passengers on the ship came from America and Canada and the following conversation came up several times with various people.

“I like eating kiwi. They’re very tasty.”

Mr. Munro and I would look at each other in horror before saying, “You mean you like to eat kiwifruit. You can’t go around eating kiwis in New Zealand.”

So, for those of you who are confused I’ll give you some definitions:

A kiwi is a native bird of New Zealand. It’s flightless and nocturnal with a long, narrow beak, which it uses to dig in the ground for bugs and worms. The kiwi is protected—no snacking on these birds—and due to deforestation and the introduction of pests such as stoats, rats and weasels, is becoming increasingly rare.

Kiwi

A kiwifruit—note the addition of the word fruit!—is a brown and fuzzy fruit. When it’s cut open the fruit is green and the middle is flecked with lots of black seeds. The kiwifruit was formerly called a Chinese Gooseberry since the vine originated in China. We have grown kiwifruit in New Zealand since the early 1900s and it was renamed in 1959. We also have golden kiwifruit, which are slightly different. The outside of the fruit is still brown, but they’re a different shape and don’t have the fuzz that the green kiwifruit possess. Inside they’re golden with the fleck of black seeds. The taste is different from the green ones. I think they’re sweeter, and they remind me of honey.

Kiwifruit

Kiwi is the affectionate name for a New Zealander. If you were to hear the words, here come the Kiwis you’ll mostly likely see a sports team. By definition, I am a Kiwi since I was born in New Zealand.

Shelley

Many of my books are set in New Zealand, which means they’re full of Kiwis. You’ll know by now, I mean the people.

Have you read a book set in New Zealand? Have you seen a kiwi? Have you tried golden kiwifruit?

K is for Kiwi

K

The kiwi is New Zealand’s national bird. In fact, the New Zealand people are also known as kiwis.

Here are some facts about the kiwi:

1. The kiwi is a flightless bird.

2. Kiwis live in pairs and mate for life.

3. They are mostly nocturnal and live in burrows.

4. They can live for between 25 – 50 years.

5. The kiwi has nostrils at the end of their beak.

6. The kiwi has one of the largest egg-to-body ratio of any bird. They’re huge!

7. The male kiwi does most of the egg incubating.

8. There are five different species of kiwis.

9. The kiwi is vulnerable to introduced pests and numbers have declined. The populations are carefully managed to ensure the bird doesn’t become extinct.

10. It’s our national icon.

bigstock-North-Island-Brown-Kiwi-Apter-37200184

Have you seen a kiwi before?

Thirteen Examples of Kiwi Speak

Thursday Thirteen

As a New Zealand author, I’m afraid I’m a bit of a trial to my editors. I keep slipping Kiwi speak into my manuscripts, mainly the contemporary and paranormal ones. When I get my edits back there are comments about “head scratching” and lots of question marks. Here are a few you probably haven’t heard before.

Thirteen Examples of Kiwi Speak

1. “Haven’t seen you in yonks!” – This means ages. i.e. I haven’t seen you for a long time.

2. Sweet as – this means yes or I agree. i.e. Do you want to go for a drink? Answer – sweet as.

3. Were you born in a tent? – I heard this one often as it kid. My mother’s way of telling me I’d left the door open and was letting in cold air.

4. He’s on his OE, earning big bikkies in London now. – translation: The man is on a working holiday in London, has a job and is receiving a good wage. OE = overseas experience.

5. Come on, ref, are your eyes painted on? – the referee is making decisions that the audience don’t agree with.

6. Got any chuddy? – they’re asking if you have any chewing gum.

7. Nine girls are running under a wharf and here I am – this is the way we learn to spell Ngaruawahia, the place where the Maori King lives.

8. You make a better door than a window – this means you’re standing in the way of something the speaker is trying to watch i.e. the television or at a sports match.

9. No need to pack a sad – means that the person is having a tantrum or sulking. The speaker is telling them that there is no need to sulk.

10. Oh, give me a break – means that something has gone wrong i.e. you’d say this if you were mowing the lawn and run out of petrol with just a little of the lawn left to mow.

11. Your turn to shout – means it’s your turn to buy a round of drinks.

12. It’s puckarooed – means that something is broken and can’t be fixed.

13. You couldn’t organize a piss-up in a brewery – means the person is useless.

A bonus – Ka pai – this is Maori and means good. Puku – Maori for stomach. I often say, “My puku is full.”

Have you heard of any of these?

Source: Kiwi Speak by Justin Brown.

Inland Island: Karori Wildlife Sanctuary

During our recent trip to Wellington we visited the Karori Wildlife Sanctuary. As the name suggests, it’s a special sanctuary for some of our endangered native birds. The 225 hectare site includes two dams that used to supply the city of Wellington with water. It was decided that the dams might break during an earthquake and a decision was made to lower the dams and use the area as an inland island. The first step was to fence the area with pest free fences.

Pest free fences, Karori Sanctuary

These fences stop possums, stoats, weasels, ferrets, rats and mice from entering the sanctuary. Once the fences were installed a pest-control plan was put in place. A year later all 13 major pests in the area were fully eradicated. Thousands of native trees were planted (the area was previously all in pine) and this planting continues. The long-term vision for the project is to return the area to its original undisturbed state and this will take around 500 years.

Some of New Zealand’s endangered wildlife has been released in the pest-free area including brown teal ducks, the little spotted kiwi, giant wetas, tuatara, stitchbird, North Island saddleback, weka, North Island robin and bellbirds to name a few.

On entry to the sanctuary staff checked my bag for mice, cats, rats and other pests. Thankfully, my bag was found pest-free! I know I would have been more shocked than anyone if a mouse had jumped out. We explored some of the many paths, pausing to peer through the treetops searching for birds.

Lower dam, Karori Sanctuary

We sighted saddlebacks and bellbirds, lots of tuis and fantails as well as some kaka (NZ variety of parrot). I’d never seen kaka up close so was fascinated to see them at the feeding stations.

Kaka, Karori Sanctuary

This photo shows two kaka. They’re a green parrot and blend in quite well with the trees, although they’re easy enough to spot because they make an awful screechy noise.

I would have loved to see a tuatara but since it was overcast they were all in their burrows, but we saw native fish and green geckos along with lots of our songbirds.

They also do a nocturnal tour where you can hear the evening song before the birds go to sleep and then go out hunting for the nocturnal kiwi. Maybe we’ll do this during another time. I’d highly recommend a visit to this sanctuary, if you’re ever down this end of the world.