The nocturnal house at Ngā Manu Nature Reserve in Waikanae is getting a makeover with the primary purpose of improving the conditions for their resident display kiwis.

A new air-conditioning unit is being installed along with a running stream thanks to funding from the ANZ Staff Foundation fund.

Dedicated to the conservation and preservation of native flora and fauna, Ngā Manu is also a tourist attraction with the upgrades serving both ends.

"Last summer we noticed the temperature was getting up to the high 20s and we were doing everything we could to keep the temperature down," said Ngā Manu manager Matu Booth.


"The air-conditioning unit will give us the ability to control and keep the temperature within the 14-20 degree range which is the ideal climate for kiwi nocturnal houses."

However, the kiwis will not be confined to a life of boredom with an enclosure that is always the exact same temperature.

The temperature will still change seasonally, keeping the kiwis interested, but it will be in a controlled way.

"We also alter the day and night cycles with the days being shorter in winter and longer in summer.

"It's a pretty artificial set up but having these upgrades will enable us to create the best habitat possible.

"ANZ came to the party, they gave us a grant for $16,337 — the price of the unit and the installation.

"It's not just a bedroom fan, it's quite a sophisticated unit.

"By having a running stream it will keep the atmosphere there and will also provide a background noise of running water which is preferable to anything else kiwis could have in a space like that.

"Kiwis like water, just like other birds they will sit and bathe in it. It should give them some positive stimulation."

In about three weeks' time once the upgrades are complete the house will be home to five-month-old kiwi Awhina and a young kiwi male, yet to arrive at Ngā Manu who will be the display birds.

Ngā Manu's other 3-year-old kiwis Puha and Ātaahua will be re-homed to an outside enclosure.

"The kiwis which are too young to breed will be our display birds.

"That's the way our recovery group wants us to do it — they want us to have birds that are breeding birds in a natural environment so they'll do their stuff in an off-display aviary.

"But the display birds which are too young to breed will be on display in the house until they are ready to breed in a few years.

"From a recovery programme perspective it's all about keeping the genetics flowing.

"The amount of publicity about conservation and habitat we can generate by having a kiwi display is huge.

"Ngā Manu has had this kiwi house since the early 1980s and it has incredible pulling power.

"People want to see what a kiwi looks like.

"Seventy to 80 per cent of overseas visitors want to see the kiwi, they don't want to see everything else so these upgrades mean a lot to Ngā Manu."

Also on the wish list for the upgrade is LED lighting that will help grow the plants for the kiwi enclosure to make it more homely for its inhabitants which Nga Manu is actively seeking funding for.

If you would like to offer support for this upgrade please contact Matu via