Video | Business Headlines | Internet | Science | Scientific Ethics | Technology | Search


Chiefly kiwi is a girl while boys warm new eggs

5 August 2011

Chiefly kiwi is a girl while boys warm new eggs

Manukura, the first white kiwi chick hatched in captivity, is a girl.

Seen as a sign of new beginnings by local Maori, the rare chick may be just that – because new, out-of-season kiwi eggs have been found in the native forest at her Pukaha Mount Bruce home.

DNA tests conducted by Massey University scientists revealed Manukura’s gender, pronouncing her a girl. The result was contrary to the expectations of rangers caring for her at the National Wildlife Centre.

Since she hatched on 1 May, the star thirteenth chick of Pukaha Mount Bruce’s record kiwi breeding season has commonly been referred to as ‘he’.

“I had a feeling all along that Manukura was a male and we’d come to think of her as a boy,” Department of Conservation captive breeding ranger Darren Page said. “It was yet another surprise from this extraordinary bird.”

Darren Page said the only way to determine the sex of a juvenile kiwi is to remove a feather and extract DNA from the tip of the feather where it enters the skin.

Named by local iwi Rangitane o Wairarapa, Manukura means ‘of chiefly status’. Rangitane spokesperson Jason Kerehi said there had been many chiefly women in Maori history and the name Manukura could be given to a male or a female.

Manukura remains in captivity in a fenced outdoor enclosure which she shares with another female chick named Potiki, meaning ‘youngest’ because she was the fourteenth chick hatched last season.

Manukura will remain in the outdoor enclosure until at least October. Visitors to the centre can see the special kiwi each Sunday at 2pm after she has been weighed by rangers. No decision has yet been made on her future.

While the young kiwi eat, sleep and grow in captivity, adult males are doing their job of sitting on four new kiwi eggs discovered by rangers in late June in the 940-hectare native forest.

“This is either exceptionally late in the kiwi breeding season which is from September to May or exceptionally early,” said Pukaha Mount Bruce field centre supervisor Kathy Houkamau. “While we know the eggs are there, we don’t yet know if they’re fertile because we wait until they are 65 days old before bringing them in.”

The kiwi eggs were discovered through ‘egg timer’ transmitters fitted to male kiwis that tell rangers how many days a male has been sitting on an egg. “It's much less intrusive than the old way of tracking males and testing eggs to determine their age and there is also less risk of egg abandonment.”

Kiwi eggs are collected at night when the male is off the egg and out feeding. They are brought into the kiwi nursery where they are incubated and hatched at around 80-90 days. The chicks are raised in captivity until they weigh 1.2 kg when they are released into the wild.

Visitor numbers at the centre have soared since Manukura captured world-wide attention in May. “Mid-winter is usually our quietest time of year but our June and July numbers are almost double what they were at the same time last year,” Kathy Houkamau said. “Manukura has certainly raised awareness of our work here to restore the forest and reintroduce native species. We need all the support we can get to maintain our intensive pest control programme which is funded mostly by community efforts.”


© Scoop Media

Business Headlines | Sci-Tech Headlines


Auckland Transport: Successful Bridge Repair Opens Two Additional Lanes To Traffic

The opening of two additional lanes on the Auckland Harbour Bridge this morning will help relieve some motorway congestion for motorists heading home to the North Shore tonight. More>>


Statistics New Zealand: COVID-19 Sees Record 12.2 Percent Fall In New Zealand’s Economy

Gross domestic product (GDP) fell by 12.2 percent in the June 2020 quarter, the largest quarterly fall recorded since the current series began in 1987, as the COVID-19 restrictions in place through the quarter impacted economic activity, Stats NZ said ... More>>


Climate: Scientists Release ‘Blueprint’ To Save Critical Ecosystems And Stabilize The Earth’s Climate

A group of scientists and experts produced the first comprehensive global-scale analysis of terrestrial areas essential for biodiversity and climate resilience, totaling 50.4% of the Earth's land. The report was published in Science Advances ... More>>


MPI: Independent Review Launched Into Assurances For Safe Transport Of Livestock By Sea

The Ministry for Primary Industries (MPI) has launched an independent review of the assurances it receives for the safe transport of livestock by sea. MPI Director-General Ray Smith says Mike Heron QC has been appointed to lead the review, which is expected ... More>>


Computers: New Zealand PC Market Grows Nearly 40% Due To Work From Home Demand

COVID-19 had large impacts on demand for PCs as businesses prepared for lockdowns by purchasing notebooks to mobilise their workforce. In the second quarter of 2020, New Zealand's Traditional PC market experienced a 39.7% year-on-year (YoY) growth ... More>>


University Of Auckland: Whale-Watching By Satellite – Follow Their Travels Online

Scientists have successfully attached satellite tracking tags to six New Zealand southern right whales, or tohorā, and are inviting the public to follow the whales’ travels online. Part of a major research project involving the University of Auckland ... More>>

Commerce Commission: Kiwibank Admits System Failures And Agrees To Pay Customers $5.2 Million

Kiwibank has entered into a settlement agreement with the Commerce Commission after reporting that it failed to have in place robust home loan variation disclosure policies, procedures and systems. In a settlement dated 27 August 2020, Kiwibank admitted that ... More>>

Ministry of Health: Public Transport Distancing Requirements Relaxed

Physical distancing requirements on public transport have been reviewed by the Ministry of Health to determine whether they are still required at Alert Level 2 (or below). The Ministry’s assessment is that mandatory face covering and individuals tracking ... More>>


NZHIA: New Zealand Hemp Industry Set To Generate $2 Billion Per Annum And Create 20,000 Jobs

A new report says a fully enabled hemp industry could generate $2 billion in income for New Zealand by 2030, while also creating thousands of new jobs. Written by industry strategist Dr Nick Marsh, the report has prompted calls from the New Zealand Hemp ... More>>


Stats NZ: One In 14 Employed People Report High Risk Of Losing Jobs

About one in 14 workers say they expect to lose their job or business by mid-2021, Stats NZ said today. A survey of employed people in the June 2020 quarter showed 7 percent felt there was a high or almost certain chance of losing their job or business ... More>>

ASB Quarterly Economic Forecast: NZ Economy Doing Better Than Expected, But Challenges Remain

August lockdown estimated to have shaved 8% off NZ’s weekly GDP, and 0.5% off annual GDP Economy now expected to shrink 5% (year-on-year) by end of 2020 Unemployment rate now expected to peak at 7.2% The latest ASB Quarterly Economic Forecast is less ... More>>