With the upgrades at Waikanae's Ngā Manu Nature Reserve nocturnal house complete, including an air conditioning unit, LED lights, and a cascade and stream, it is time for the kiwis to move in.

After waiting patiently in an outside enclosure with older kiwis Puha and Ataahua, Awhina has now moved into the nocturnal house and is settling into her new environment.

Settling in means changing her biological clock as her day-night cycle will be reversed to an artificial cycle so visitors can see her when she is awake.

Dot. Photo / Rosalie Willis
Dot. Photo / Rosalie Willis

It has taken 6-month-old Awhina almost two months to transition to the artificial day-night cycle of the nocturnal house, now venturing out at the end of the natural day where the public can now see her foraging around.


Last week the newest kiwi arrived from a facility in Napier with the hopes that it will become a mate for Awhina once the pair have matured.

The kiwi currently goes under the name Dot, while Ngā Manu decides on a name for it.

Dot too will make his home in the newly upgraded nocturnal house, joining Awhina as Ngā Manu's display couple for locals and tourists alike to delight in.

"It's the beginning of another story because we will be trying to pair the birds up and share the new enclosure," Ngā Manu manager Matu Booth said.

"To start with the two kiwis will be separated in their new enclosure by a dividing fence and their introduction will be carefully monitored and managed."

As they are territorial creatures they will be monitored over several days and it could be weeks until they are freely released into the same enclosure.

"It has taken a while for Awhina to adjust, she is only now making quick forays out.

"The public haven't been able to see her until Labour Day when she started to make her first appearances out.


"Now that she is coming out, it should encourage him to settle.

"These kiwi are still juveniles which is an ideal time for them to get to know each other."

Thirteen-month-old Dot was set to arrive at Ngā Manu back in August straight after the nocturnal house upgrade was completed but delays in routine screening before transfer have also delayed his arrival.

"He's had a couple of hurdles, coming back with an elevated white blood cell count and the second time with parasites," he said.

However, Matu said these results are not terribly indicative of the kiwi's condition as the blood cell count can rise because of the stress the testing causes.

Now that both kiwis are in their new enclosure they will be watched closely to see if they will be good companions with the hope that in three to four years when they are mature, they will become a mating couple.