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Third white kiwi brings an early white Christmas to Pukaha!

Pukaha Mount Bruce has been blessed with an early Christmas present with a third white kiwi hatching at the national wildlife centre.

The chick hatched just prior to Department of Conservation (DOC) staff arriving on Monday in the centre's kiwi nursery. You can see footage of the newly hatched white kiwi chick being transferred from the incubator to the 'dryer' here. This is the same nursery where Manukura, the first white kiwi and Mauriora, our second white kiwi was hatched in December last year.

DOC staff knew that the eggs had come from Manukura's father, so knew there was a 25% possibility of another white kiwi, but it still came as a surprise.

It is rare enough that two brown kiwi carrying the rare recessive white gene mate in the first place, that they would go on to produce three white kiwi is really something very special.

Depending on how much support this little white kiwi chick needs, visitors may be able to see the chick at the 12pm feeding time in the next week or two. Unfortunately we can't guarantee whether the chick will be able to be viewed as it is really up to the kiwi chick and how quickly it begins to feed itself.

A small number of North Island Brown Kiwi carry the recessive white gene which both the male and female must have to produce a white chick.

All three white birds have the same father, who we have identified through his transmitter. We can't positively identify the mother for certain, but we assume she is the same because of the rarity of the white gene. There is a one-in-four chance of such a pair producing a white chick.

Local Maori iwi Rangitane o Wairarapa are delighted that Pukaha Mount Bruce has been blessed a third time. "We have always known the reserve at Pukaha Mount Bruce is a very special and spiritual place, this third white kiwi is confirmation of what we have always known," Rangitane chief executive and Pukaha board member Jason Kerehi said. The iwi will name this special chick over the next few days.

This white kiwi is the seventh kiwi chick to have hatched at the centre so far this season, with plenty more season left, many more are expected. Another egg currently incubating in the nursery is from the same nest as this white kiwi chick, so technically it also has a 25% chance of being white.

Remember you can see Manukura in the nocturnal Kiwi House 364 days of the year along with her brown kiwi friend, Turua. Mauriora is still growing in the kiwi 'creche' with the other juvenile kiwi.


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