A man woken up by an intruder while staying in a Northland hotel discovered it was in fact a kiwi which had wandered inside through an open ranchslider.
The uninvited visitor has sparked great excitement at the Copthorne Hotel and Resort in Waitangi, as well as among conservationists who believe it's a sign predator control work is starting to pay off.
Hotel manager Brad Watts said the guest, who had been staying in a ground-floor room of the ocean-facing Sea Spray Wing, was woken up by a rustling noise under his bed about 1.30am last Wednesday.
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The guest, a New Zealander, assumed a possum had got in through an open ranchslider.
He wasn't entirely sure what he was dealing with so he called reception and within minutes the night manager and a porter were at his door.
Together they lifted the bed and discovered, to everyone's surprise, a kiwi.
''They tried to encourage it outside but it ran into the bathroom instead, where it was skidding around on the tiles. Then it went back under the bed and finally shot out the door.''
Watts said he was sceptical at first but the guest, a New Zealand farmer, and the porter, a long-time New Zealand resident, were certain it was a kiwi.
They managed to get a cellphone photo of the bird in a corner of the room by the hallway door but the image wasn't clear.
The farmer was stoked to see New Zealand's national bird without even leaving his hotel room, Watts said. It was also the night manager's first encounter with the normally elusive creature.
Weka are sometimes mistaken for kiwi but the guest was ''100 per cent certain'' of the bird's identity. In any case, while the equally flightless weka is common across the water in Russell, none have been seen so far in Waitangi.
Watts said the area around the Copthorne, which was part of the Waitangi National Trust estate, was becoming ''a bit of a nature reserve'' with little blue penguins currently nesting in the hotel pool area.
The penguins, also called kororā, are also breeding in nesting boxes along the Waitangi shoreline.
Waitangi National Trust chief executive Greg McManus said the kiwi's ''amazing'' visit was a sign that the effort going into predator control work in and around the Treaty Grounds was starting to pay off.