festival disrupts kiwi farming | Otago Daily Times News Online

Hosting a raucous music festival just across the fence from which rare birds were breeding was “a terrible moment”, said Kiwi Park wildlife manager Al Browne.

Drawing a crowd of around 5,000, Snow Machine ran for three nights last week on the grounds of Queenstown Primary School.

Its amplified music could be heard several miles away.

Mr Browne said during Thursday’s sound check that they had removed two kiwi eggs which male birds were incubating just 10 to 15 meters from the main stage.

“I heard that [sound] and thought, ‘no way, I’m absolutely not going to take that chance’… Loud noises and things like that can make your male panic and break the eggs himself.

“We have space on site to incubate them artificially.”

Mr Browne said ideally they would have waited another month before removing the eggs, around a month before they hatched.

“The longer you leave them, the higher the chance of success.”

Ironically, the Kiwis were originally housed near the Skyline Gondola, but have been moved due to that company’s redevelopment work.

Mr Browne said it was not just their kiwis that were affected.

“About half of our species are just beginning to spawn and incubate.

“We’ve seen a lot of stress around the park from the birds – increased aggression, stimulation, things like that.”

Festival director Quentin Nolan said he was in constant communication with the owners of Kiwi Park.

“I have provided details of the event, site plans and acoustic report, and we have obtained approval from the parties involved signed by them.

“They asked us not to do sound checks while they were doing shows, and they asked us to put a security guard in the park to make sure there were no fence jumpers. or whatever.”

Mr. Nolan said he was donating $2,000 to the park and would like to work with them if the event is held there again.

Mr. Nolan believed that their noise level was within the agreed limits.

Queenstown Lakes District Council spokesman Sam White said the council had received 18 noise complaints from 10 people.