Four North Island brown kiwi chicks will soon be calling Napier home, thanks to conservation efforts by national charity Kiwis for kiwi.
The chicks from the National Kiwi Hatchery in Rotorua will be moved to a dedicated hatchery and brooding facility owned by Napier City Council on October 13.
The four chicks, along with more in the future, will live at the Napier facility until they weigh about 1kg, and are big enough to fight back against predators like stoats and ferrets so can be released into the wild.
Charity spokeswoman Erin Reilly said the four chicks were hatched from eggs lifted from Maungataniwha, managed by the Forest Lifeforce Restoration Trust.
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"The trust is one of the most prolific contributors to Operation Nest Egg, which is partially funded by Kiwis for kiwi and combines the efforts of DoC, community kiwi conservation groups, iwi, researchers and captive rearing facilities," she said.
Reilly said, in 2017, the charity launched a kōhanga strategy involving finding wild kiwi and putting transmitters on their legs, tracking them to find out when they were incubating eggs, lifting the eggs and taking them to incubation facilities.
Then they would hatch the eggs and raise the chicks for their first 3-4 weeks, then release then into predator-free habitats/kōhanga sites, fenced sites or islands, where they could roam and breed without fear of being attacked by stoats, ferrets or dogs.
As kiwi breed and the kōhanga fill up, the charity would relocate chicks hatched in the kōhanga into other parts of the North Island that need a boost in kiwi numbers, she said.
"Northland is doing well on the kiwi front thanks to highly committed local community and iwi groups," she said.
"The western region - Taranaki, Tongariro, Whanganui - is also on the up thanks to the opening of our dedicated incubation centre, the Crombie Lockwood Kiwi Burrow in Wairakei. Our next region to focus on is the eastern region."
Reilly said it was the fastest way to fast-track kiwi numbers and get in front of the annual 2 per cent decline in kiwi numbers.