Manukura’s Nine Birthday Wishes
Pūkaha National Wildlife Centre, Mount Bruce, Masterton: Nine years ago today Pukaha’s most precious kiwi called Manukura was hatched. Much to the surprise of her rangers and staff at the time, the special taonga (treasure) was born with completely white feathers due to an extremely rare combination of genetics resulting from a rare recessive white feather gene. She still lives at Pūkaha and is the only known white kiwi in the world that can be viewed by a visiting public.
Since hatching Manukura has gone on to become quite the star, with her own Facebook page with followers from around the world and visitors travelling from near and far just to meet her.
Manukura loves to be the star of the show, often hopping and jumping around her expansive noturnal house enclosure. She is not terribly fond of other kiwi; several attempts to find her a mate have not turned out terribly well and she has given every potential suitor a hard time and sent them packing back to the bush!
Loved dearly by many, Pūkaha makes a big fuss for her birthday each year. This year things are a bit different. Due to Covid-19 restrictions, Pūkaha has remained closed to the public and her adoring fans are not able to visit and wish her well in person.
The 1st of May was also the date set for Pūkaha’s annual fundraising event. This annual fundraiser has been a tradition for 10 years. It’s a much-loved gathering bringing together community and supporters to celebrate the centre’s conservation work. The fundraiser usually involves a suite of enticing auctions – including the exclusive rights to name and release a kiwi at the 942 ha reserve which is always a hot ticket item! The fundraiser is a very important means for Pūkaha, as a charity, to top up their finances in order to get through the quieter winter months when international visitors to the centre drop off significantly. Sadly the planned fundraiser has had to be abandoned for now due to the restrictions opposed by Covid-19.
This year, during this difficult time, Manukura’s birthday wish is for those that can, to support Pūkaha to continue its essential conservation work - protecting and growing populations of New Zealand’s most vulnerable wildlife. As a tribute to Manukura’s nine years teaching and entertaining New Zealanders and international travellers, Pūkaha is today launching nine fantastic auction items on Trademe. All of the auctions are available online at https://www.trademe.co.nz/
Manukura also has her own birthday ‘Give a little’ page which people are welcome to contribute to. It can be found at https://givealittle.co.nz/cause/manukuras-birthday-fund
Well-wishers are also invited to leave birthday messages and follow the adventures of Manukura on her Facebook page; https://www.facebook.com/ManukuraWhiteKiwi/