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Kiwi chicks on display these school holidays

Kiwi chicks on display these school holidays

Bringing with them a promising future for Te Puia’s kiwi house, two special kiwi chicks have recently settled in and are now on display for visitors to catch a glimpse these school holidays.

Hatched in December 2014, Sketch, a boy, is living alongside his fellow female nocturnal friend, Marama, who hatched in September 2014.

Sketch was named by Kiwi Encounter after his egg code – R.Art18, while Marama, which means moon, was named by Olivia Kelsey – an eight year old girl who is bravely battling leukemia cancer.

Te Puia senior husbandry officer, Vanessa Heaford, says by switching day light to night time, visitors are able to see the nocturnal birds foraging for insects on the forest floor, or via special cameras mounted in their nesting boxes.

“Our little fellow Sketch has adapted well to his new home and has recently increased the amount of time he is out of his nest box, probing and foraging for insects.

“Visitors still get a good look of the chicks when they’re in their nesting boxes, thanks to our camera monitor screen – they will often be seen preening their feathers, probing for insects and having a sniff around.

“Marama is taking a little longer to settle in, and has been shifted to an outdoor enclosure during the school holidays to encourage her to become more active and allow Sketch access to the full enclosure.”

Ms Heaford says the long awaited arrival of these special taonga (treasures) is a big achievement and has left the Te Puia kiwi team overjoyed.

“Sketch and Marama are special birds and it is amazing for us and our manuhiri (visitors) to watch them grow, contributing to the advocacy and protection of our flora and fauna that is our mandate.

“Conservation is a priority at Te Puia and as kaitiaki (guardians) our role is to provide a safe, natural place for our national taonga.”

On 7 May, 10 year old Nohi, the last chick to hatch at Te Puia, was released into the Rangataua Forest, alongside Sketch’s father, Arthur.

“Nohi’s release was a great experience and the entire team was able to attend and be a part of his special day. The release site is home to around 80 kiwi so we are hopeful Nohi will pair and breed this coming season,” says Ms Heaford.

Te Puia has been displaying and advocating for New Zealand’s national bird for nearly 40 years and plan to re-join the national breeding programme as these chicks mature into adults.

Te Puia|NZMACI is open from 8am until 6pm seven days a week. Visit for more information.


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