Rachel Hunter steals kiwi eggs - for a good cause

By Sonya Bateson of The Daily Post -
Model and NZ icon Rachel Hunter with a kiwi egg. Photo / Supplied
Model and NZ icon Rachel Hunter with a kiwi egg. Photo / Supplied

It did happen overnight.

Ditching the high heels for gumboots, Rachel Hunter spent a night creeping through the bush to bring a kiwi egg to Kiwi Encounter.

The New Zealand's Got Talent judge spent half of Monday night foraging around in Maungataniwha Forest waiting for the opportunity to take a kiwi egg from its nest to Rotorua for incubation.

Hunter, who is the patron of Forest Lifeforce Restoration Trust, said although it feels "mean" sometimes to take the eggs from their parents' nest, there was a 95 per cent chance it wouldn't survive in the wild.

They were "really fortunate" the father got off the egg early at night, around 10.30pm, she said.

"It was this beautiful light blue egg, when you see it here [Kiwi Encounter] it just looks white. You've just got to put your hand in and get the egg out without any attachment which is really hard - but it's just what you have to do."

Hunter said the facilities at Kiwi Encounter were necessary for the conservation of the kiwi.

"Without this, it wouldn't be possible. We've got the facilities here to wash them and make them warm until their birth.

"There's a really nurturing quality here which is interesting as there are a lot of women here looking after the eggs."

As the kiwi comes closer to extinction, Hunter said businesses should be adopting birds to help pay for the conservation work. She said the kiwi was New Zealand's national bird, so the country needed to make sure it wouldn't face extinction.

"New Zealand could lose its bird. It's a shame it's not a bird we can take around for people to touch and see because I think people would have a bigger affinity and more compassion for it all.

"It's our national bird - who wouldn't want to look after something that's near extinction to make sure that it lives? Overseas, the bird is very noticeable as being a New Zealand bird, it would be a shame for it not to survive."

Forest Lifeforce Restoration Trust chairman Simon Hall said Hunter was really keen on the kiwi and had released the trust's 100th chick this year.

"Since then, she's been really keen to come back and do an egg lift. While we were there, we also picked up some eggs from here to take to the creche at Cape Kidnappers, then from there took some older chicks and released them into the wild at Maungataniwha - a full circle."

Hunter said the egg would stay at Kiwi Encounter until it hatches and is ready to take back to the forest.

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