A rare white kiwi in the Wairarapa has been paired with a young brown kiwi and it is hoped the two will one day mate.
Fourteen-month-old Manukura, and her male friend MB27 – named after the order of his hatching – have moved into the same indoor enclosure and have been “getting on okay”, according to Department of Conservation captive breeding ranger Philip Wisker.
Manukura, believed to be the first all-white chick hatched in captivity, was hatched last May in the Pukaha Mt Bruce National Wildlife Centre.
''She goes over to him and gives him a prod with her beak and when he jumps and gets a fright, then she runs off,” Mr Wisker told the Dominion Post.
''She's certainly the one in charge, though. She checks to make sure he's still there but she's the one that gets the pick of the nest boxes.”
Although the pair are not yet sexually active – that happens at around three years of age for the birds – breeders at the Operation Nest Egg programme are hopeful the two will hit it off and their budding friendship will eventually lead to more.
Despite being solitary animals Mr Wisker says that if put together while young the birds will often “snuggle up together”.
Manukura's parents were transferred to Wairarapa from Little Barrier Island in 2010.