Two kiwi chicks from Otanewainuku's forest have hatched - with more baby kiwi possibly on the way.
Otanewainuku Kiwi Trust kiwi pair, White Eyes and Manuka, are the proud parents of two young ones. Waituna hatched on December 6 and its sibling, Marama, hatched December 27. Their sex has yet to be determined.
Kiwi eggs can weigh up to 1kg with the brown kiwi averaging 3kg, meaning the small bird can only carry one egg at a time.
However, the brown kiwi is more prolific than other kiwi, producing up to two eggs a clutch, and one to two clutches a year.
Both new chicks have now put on at least 100g since birth and are faring well in their temporary home at Rotorua's Kiwi Encounters.
Long-term Otanewainuku kiwi Maui and Whetu have also produced eggs this season, which will be lifted from Whetu's nest to hatch at Kiwi Encounters this month.
Otanewainuku Kiwi Trust volunteer Peter Crane said rearing kiwi in the forest had been challenging over the last few years but things were improving.
"Ninety five per cent of kiwi chicks die in the wild or get predated by stoats. While we have a very low level of stoats in Otanewainuku, we want to give them the greatest chance of survival, so we get those eggs over to Rotorua and Warrenheip [Reserve in Waikato] to be raised. They are hatched in Rotorua and they are kept until they are a kilo in weight.
"We could actually then transfer them back into the bush at that stage but we we are trying a new programme where we are putting them in a fenced creche in Waikato for another 12 months. That gets them bush savvy, bigger and stronger and used to the bush."
"This is what we are trying to do, get them breeding in the bush so we can return them to the place where they were born.
"When we get kiwi numbers up to a good number we will be able to leave them in the bush to let them raise the young themselves."
An ideal number of kiwi in the Otanewainuku forest would be about 50 breeding pairs.
There are 13 birds in residence there, he said.