Kiwi kids got close to their national bird yesterday before the chicks were released as part of a history-making breeding programme.
Fifty years after kiwi were last sighted in Kaipara, five chicks were released on a privately owned 1300ha stretch of forest around the Mataia Homestead by the Kaipara Harbour, northwest of Auckland.
Property owner and conservationist Kevin Adshead said a pest control fence surrounded the property and there were plans to extend this to include another 10,000 ha.
"Long term we want to let the kiwi out to re-populate the Kaipara," Adshead said.
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The birds were raised on Motuora Island in the Hauraki Gulf.