3 April 2014
From left, Seasprite pilot Lieutenant Alex Trotter, Chief Petty Officer Helicopter Crewman Nathan Tamihana and Helicopter Observer Lieutenant Mark Sharples unload kiwi from the Seasprite.
A Royal New Zealand Navy helicopter provided vital assistance to the Department of Conservation, flying nine kiwi from the Coromandel Peninsula to Motutapu Island in the Hauraki Gulf yesterday.
The relocation is part of a DoC restoration plan to increase kiwi numbers by trans-locating birds to new areas once sustainable populations have been reached.
The Navy helicopter crew were tasked to fly the birds to reduce the travel time, and therefore the stress on the birds.
Pilot of the helicopter, Lieutenant Alex Trotter (30), said that while Navy works with DoC regularly, the transportation of an endangered species was a rare event.
"It was such a fantastic opportunity for us to work with our DoC partners for a very worthwhile cause. The chance to contribute to the wellbeing of our national icon is a rare opportunity, and we feel incredibly privileged to be involved."
It was an opportunity to showcase the diversity and capability of the SH-2G(NZ) Super Seasprite to the DOC staff, volunteers and public who attended the ceremony at Home Bay, Motutapu Island.
"The aircraft's primary role is maritime surveillance and warfare, however, this was yet another example of just how capable and adaptive the aircraft and our crews can be," said LT Trotter.
"We carry out a variety of roles in a variety of environments all over the world, but the chance to support our national icon will certainly be a highlight in the logbook for all involved."
For more information or to talk to the crew involved, please contact the Defence Communications Group on 021 487 980.