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A New Home Is Hatched… The National Kiwi Hatchery Embarks On A Fresh Chapter At Agrodome Rotorua

The globally acclaimed National Kiwi Hatchery is gearing up for a significant move to a purpose-built facility, a notable step towards fortifying the preservation of the iconic kiwi. This relocation, part of Ngāi Tahu Tourism's ongoing commitment to the tourism industry, reflects a strategic leap forward in the organisation's conservation efforts.

Early on Thursday morning, Tura Ngāti Te Ngākau descendants conducted a dawn whakanoa (blessing) of the new Whare Kiwi to ensure kiwi can be relocated from Rainbow Springs in preparation for full operations.

Tura Ngāti Te Ngākau chairman, Mr Geoff Rice says “The Whare Kiwi, named Huruhuru after one of our tūpuna, sits between two historical Tura Ngāti Te Ngākau pā sites, Pātirakaraka to the North, and Hongohongo to the South.

“This whenua has nurtured us for many generations, we tautoko the development of the Whare Kiwi as a pā harakeke for generations of kiwi, and Aotearoa our kiwi nation. We acknowledge the commitment of Ngāi Tahu and this project.”

In its state-of-the-art new home at Agrodome, the National Kiwi Hatchery continues to lead the way in supporting kiwi kaitiakitanga (guardianship), with a team of renowned scientists dedicated to setting new benchmarks in technology and innovation in the field. The move allows National Kiwi Hatchery to expand its outdoor crèche facilities, facilitating the growth of more kiwi chicks before their release into the wild. This expansion supports the long-term goal of increasing the number of kiwi released annually, contributing significantly to the preservation of this national taonga (treasure).

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A key aspect of this development is the enhanced focus on environmental sustainability, and thanks to major investment and support by Mercury NZ, the new location will feature a state-of-the-art solar and battery system. This power will provide incubators with over 30 hours of secure electricity, keeping kiwi chicks safe in the event of a power outage.

Additionally, a new agreement with Bay of Plenty Regional Council ensures native planting onsite — further bolstering Agrodome’s existing sustainability authority as well as providing a unique immersive experience for both kiwi and manuhiri (visitors).

National Kiwi Hatchery Manager Emma Bean is thrilled about the move, stating it is not only a change in location but a significant advancement in the organisation’s mission.

"With the ongoing support of Mercury and Ngāi Tahu Tourism, this relocation will allow us to power up our vital work in preserving our national manu (bird). The kiwi is a protected species and the population needs a little added support sometimes, ensuring its numbers flourish well into the future.

“And it’s with great pride we continue to undertake this important mahi and that we can now put it on a larger stage for domestic and international manuhiri (visitors) to see, learn and take part in.”

Mercury Head of Brand and Marketing, Sarah Cowan says Mercury is proud to support the National Kiwi Hatchery in its mission to save kiwi.

“We love that the hatchery is helping ‘take care of tomorrow’ for kiwi—we’re passionate about taking care of tomorrow too, so it’s great to be able to help the hatchery power up the vital work they do.”

The new venue promises an improved visitor experience, complete with dedicated access for trade bookings and tour groups. Independent visitors will be welcomed at Agrodome and transported to the National Kiwi Hatchery via a dedicated shuttle, ensuring a seamless, safe and enjoyable journey. Visitors to The National Kiwi Hatchery actively participate in the conservation journey, with 100% of ticket proceeds directly supporting the kiwi hatching programme.

After a record-breaking season, having successfully hatched 153 kiwi chicks, and with the landmark 2,500th kiwi hatching on the horizon, the National Kiwi Hatchery team is eager to open doors to the public from their new facility from Monday 11 December, 2023.

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