New kiwi chick hatched to Tauranga parents

A little brown kiwi was hatched in the Kiwi Encounter hatchery in Rotorua on Friday. Photo/ Supplied
A little brown kiwi was hatched in the Kiwi Encounter hatchery in Rotorua on Friday. Photo/ Supplied

Exciting news spread throughout the Otanewainuku forest over the weekend as a brown kiwi chick was hatched.

The chick was hatched in the Kiwi Encounter hatchery in Rotorua on Friday and weighed 360 grams after being taken into incubation about three weeks ago.

The chick is the third live offspring of dad Kaha and mum Fetah, who live in Otanewainuku Forest.

The parents were among five wild kiwi transferred in 2014 from Maungataniwha Forest in Hawke's Bay to Otanewainuku.

Kiwi Trust volunteer Sheryl Petersen said the hatch was special, particularly as Kaha was not the most diligent of dads, often abandoning his egg-minding duty midway through incubation.

"This chick is very Maungataniwha-coloured, quite pale grey with a white flash above its eyes."

Dad Kaha had walked off this egg at 57 days but, fortunately, Otanewainuku Kiwi Trust had a piece of technology in place called a chick transmitter.

The transmitter recorded Kaha leaving and volunteers quickly entered the forest and retrieved the egg with only 12 hours to spare before the egg would not have survived as it would have been too cold.

The hatching had a few hiccups as the chick had a leg crossed over his chest so needed human intervention to get out of the shell.

The hatchery is the largest kiwi hatching facility in the world, successfully incubating and hatching brown kiwi eggs from around the North Island.

The chick will remain at Kiwi Encounter until it reaches 1000 grams then will be relocated to a kiwi crèche near Karapiro until it is big enough to be released back into Otanewainuku Forest.

The sex of the chick is unknown and can only be determined by a DNA test of its feather, it is not until kiwi chicks are about a year old that their gender can be determined.

Western Bay of Plenty District Council gives practical support and funding to Otanewainuku Kiwi Trust's programme for the long-term survival of the endangered North Island brown kiwi, including funding for the Trust's specialised tracking equipment.

- Bay of Plenty Times

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