Kiwi Aversion Training for dogs

Be a responsible dog owner.

Whakatāne kiwi might be in your backyard or just off the trail – training your dog could save a kiwi’s life!  Kiwi aren’t like other birds – dogs find their strong musky smell particularly interesting.  And, without wing muscles to protect it, the kiwi’s chest structure is easily crushed in a dog’s mouth. It doesn’t take a huge hunting dog to kill a kiwi – even a playful or curious bite can damage a kiwi’s internal organs and result in death. Statistically, dogs are the main threat to adult kiwi.

With many of our breeding birds situated within one kilometre of Ōhope and Whakatāne, one loose dog could decimate the entire Whakatāne kiwi population. For example, in Northland between 1990 and 1995, dogs were responsible for 70% of all kiwi deaths in the region. Of the 135 birds killed over those five years, 29 were killed by family pets – some dogs were with their owners but off the lead, and others were roaming at night.

It only takes ten minutes to put your dog through kiwi aversion training, which is an effective way of deterring your dog from attacking kiwi. The Whakatāne Kiwi Trust organises regular kiwi aversion training sessions, the next session is on Sunday the 21st of June at the corner of Burke Road in Wainui. You can email us to be kept informed about future sessions.


Guus Knopers is the trainer we use for our Kiwi Aversion Training sessions. He is the Director of the K9 Detector Dog Centre and is an exceptionally knowledgeable and experienced dog trainer and handler. Dogs he has trained have worked around the world for conservation, narcotics, explosives and bio-security. His company has some of the most extensive dog teams in NZ. Guus has been certified to conduct kiwi aversion training in line with the national protocols for this method.




Date:  Sunday the 4th of October 2020

Venue: White Horse Drive Carpark, Whakatane

Time: 9.30am start – an individual time slot will be designated to you upon booking.

Cost: Donation of $10 per dog

Bookings Essential – Phone Donna after 5pm on 561 7352 (local Whakatane number) or email

Please note dogs must be older than 6 months to be trained