When 30 kiwi were introduced in April to Pukaha Mount Bruce from Little Barrier Island, with a great deal of media attention, I - along with many other people - assumed they'd be going into a safe environment. Wrong.
The kiwi were released into the Mount Bruce forest, itself a remnant of the 70 mile bush that once spread from Norsewood in the north, to Masterton in the south.
When news of the deaths of the first four kiwi was released the realisation dawned on those interested in the longterm success of kiwi as a species that they had been released into unprotected forest.
While Pukaha Mount Bruce have noted their assiduous efforts to trap predators, news of yet another five kiwi deaths is not a good look and has led organisations such as Forest and Bird to question the effectiveness of DOC's trapping programmes.
Given that ferrets and other predators are prevalent on the east coast of the North Island, was it ever realistic to release precious kiwi with no predator-proof fencing?
It would be a big exercise to predator-fence the 940 hectare Mount Bruce forest and involve many kilometres of fencing. Would the end - a secure environment where kiwi and other endangered wildlife could flourish - justify the means?
The success of Zealandia - the Karori Wildlife Sanctuary - as both a sanctuary for precious wildlife and a tourist attraction suggests exploration of predator-proof fencing of the Mount Bruce forest should be high on the Pukaha Mount Bruce Trust Board's agenda.