Pūkaha National Wildlife Centre has announced the successful hatching of a new kiwi.
The chick is the first arrival of the 2019 breeding season and arrived healthy at 5pm on September 17 weighing 285 grams.
The newborn is the first offspring of Mapuna, a white-coloured male kiwi and Manawa, a brown-coloured female kiwi.
The newest kiwi addition is mostly brown but has a unique patch of white feathers on its head attributable to the rare recessive white feather gene that some kiwi carry.
The chick has not been formally named but is known by the moniker MB107, being the 107th kiwi to be born in captivity at Mount Bruce under Operation Nest Egg.
The small newborn lived off its own yolk for the first few days before receiving its first high protein meal of ox heart strips – cut and designed to mimic worms.
Its sex will remain unknown until its feathers are submitted for DNA testing in approximately four months' time.
Staff will continue to monitor the health of the new kiwi and post updates on the Pūkaha National Wildlife Centre Facebook page.
Visitors to Pūkaha may be able to view the chick and see it being fed at the Kiwi House in the coming days. Confirmation and times will be posted to Facebook.
Special thanks and acknowledgement also go to Native Sparkling who are sponsoring the kiwi chick husbandry from hatch to release.
Pūkaha National Wildlife Centre is a wildlife reserve and captive breeding facility managed between Rangitāne o Wairarapa, Department of Conservation and Pūkaha Mount Bruce board.
In Operation Nest Egg kiwi eggs and chicks are removed from the wild and hatched and/or raised in captivity until big enough to fend for themselves – usually when they weigh around 1000–1200g. They are then returned to the wild.
An Operation Nest Egg bird has a 65 per cent chance of surviving to adulthood compared to just 5 per cent for wild-hatched and raised chicks (in areas which have no predator controls in place).
White kiwi are the rare progeny of North Island brown kiwi who carry a recessive white feather gene.
In 2010, 30 North Island brown kiwi were translocated from Little Barrier Island to Pūkaha National Wildlife Centre.
The birth of MB107 is attributable to the genes carried by these birds.