Naming new white kiwi real privilege' for iwi

The third white kiwi chick to hatch in captivity has been named Mapuna - meaning prized or precious.

Mapuna hatched in November at Pukaha Mt Bruce and has already been released in the creche with the other kiwi chicks.

The chick was named in a blessing ceremony on December 8.

The honour of naming the third white kiwi was given to Rangitane o Tamaki Nui a Rua, of Dannevirke, to celebrate the relationship with local iwi Rangitane o Wairarapa and acknowledge the relationship with Te Tapere Nui o Whatonga [Forty Mile Bush].

Elder Manahi Paewai said Mapuna was an old Maori word that meant prized or precious.

Rangitane o Wairarapa chief executive officer and Pukaha board member Jason Kerehi said iwi took its role and responsibility as kaitiaki [guardians] very seriously.

"The naming of these special creatures is a real privilege but is something that is done with great care and consideration. Our primary concern is for the welfare of the animals and for the staff that look after them and the visitors that come to this place," he said.

"The white kiwi have gained recognition worldwide so giving them names with deep-meaning and that resonate with our culture and histories is hugely important to us and something that we are very grateful to be able to do."

The first white kiwi chick, Manukura, was born in May 2011 and Mauriora followed in December.

The chick's gender will be determined by testing a feather.

- Wairarapa Times-Age

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