Rare kiwi hitch ride with Air Force
Tue, 19 Jun 2012 6:29p.m.
By Jerram Watts
It has taken over a century, but the Rowi is finally back in the North Island
The rarest of the five kiwi breeds is somewhat stable at around 400 birds, 20 of which now live on Wellington's Mana Island.
The 10 male and 10 female Rowi were given the full treatment - flown to Mana by the Air Force, then welcomed by the local Ngati Toa iwi.
Department of Conservation kiwi ranger Duncan Kay says the island is prime habitat because it is free from predators.
“If we can keep them away from the stoats then they’re going to thrive basically, and produce lots of chicks on a nice fertile site,” says Mr Kay.
It is hoped the one to two-year-olds will breed in August next year, with each couple producing one chick per season
“They’re known as the ‘whanau kiwi’ so they hang out in a family group,” says Mr Kay.
The 20 Rowi will spend their first night on the island in hutches, and it is hoped that as they adapt to their environment they will make Mana Island their home.
And once they've done that?
Kahu Ropata, of Ngati Toa iwi, says he wants them to multiply.
“That they go forth and multiply, and multiply to the extent that we may be able to use this place for maybe relocating Rowi to other parts of the country."
But for now the Rowi will be left to their own devices.
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19/06/2012 8:10:30 p.m.
they are soo cute
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