Nick, a 340g kiwi chick from Rarewarewa near Whangarei, became the fifth addition to Auckland Zoo's spring breeding programme yesterday.

The palm-sized chick, which first made a crack in its shell early yesterday morning, hatched without assistance at about midday.

In three weeks, once it has regained its hatch weight, the chick will be transported to pest-free Moturoa Island in the Hauraki Gulf, where it will remain until it is big enough to fend for itself.

Auckland Zoo, with Department of Conservation staff, community groups, iwi and researchers, help rear and raise more than 200 chicks like Nick each year as part of the BNZ Operation Nest Egg programme.