Three Karearea chicks are settling into their new home at Palliser Estate's Clouston Vineyard in Martinborough.

The trio were delivered to the vineyard on Thursday by Jane Lenting, who is behind the project, which hopes to establish the threatened species back into Wairarapa.

More than 60 winemakers and interested community members gathered to welcome the New Zealand falcon chicks.

They were flown to Wellington, from Wingspan Birds of Prey Trust -- a breeding and raising programme based in Rotorua.

Advertisement

Mrs Lenting said the 3-week-old chicks had experienced a "heck of a landing in Wellington".

The project started last year when three chicks were introduced to Escarpment's Te Muna Road vineyard.

Mrs Lenting, who is the cellar sales manager for Palliser Estate, said the initiative "combines conservation interests with the interests of the vineyard owners".

Karearea would help discourage pest birds, like starlings, from eating grapes and destroying the crops.

Although the driving force behind the project, Mrs Lenting said she had received "lots of support from lots of people".

As well as Palliser Estate, wines from Martinborough and Wairarapa winegrowers were sponsoring the initiative.

Ngati Kahungunu ki Wairarapa general manager PJ Devonshire performed a karakia as the chicks were transferred into their new home, a "hack box", in which they will be enclosed for a period.

When they are strong enough the box will be opened and the birds will be free to leave the box and hunt.

Mrs Lenting said the two female chicks would grow to be between 450-500gm and the single male would grow to 250-300gm.

"It means they catch different prey, so they're not competing for food."

The eldest female was named Clouston, after the vineyard and recently retired Palliser Estate director Mr Clouston, who's first name was ironically Falcon.

Jimmy was the name given to the male chick by Palliser Estate staff in memory of a close friend.

Mr Devonshire named the youngest girl Tipu, which means "to grow and blossom".

Palliser Estate chief executive Pip Goodwin said it was great to be involved in the project.

"We had been looking for new environmental initiatives to support the biodiversity of the region."

Ms Goodwin said although the wineries would benefit, the project was more about re-establishing the native birds into the region.