It's a New Year's baby story with a twist - or more like a long beak, to be precise.

After five long days working to get out of its shell, a wee kiwi chick has been born at the National Kiwi Hatchery at Rainbow Springs in Rotorua.

The chick made its way into the world at 9am on January 1, weighing just 328.2 grams.

The kiwi's sex won't been known for a while yet, as the feathers need to be sent away for testing.


Staff at the hatchery had been working around the clock over the festive time as the kiwi hatching season reached the halfway point.

Kiwi husbandry manager Emma Bean said the festive season did not slow anything down for the National Kiwi Hatchery team.

"We've had over 80 chicks hatch from the first clutch of eggs, which have been arriving since October. The second clutch has now started to arrive, and the hatching season will run through until April," she said.

"We often have birds hatching over the holidays, so it has been work as usual for the team. We were here on Christmas day and New Year's Day celebrating with the chicks, they even got a few extra bugs for their Christmas lunch.

"Unlike the rest of us who might be trying to lose some weight after overindulging throughout the holidays, this little chick will now be trying to bulk up, so it can reach its stoat-proof weight of 1kg."

Bean said, on average, it took 78 days of incubation before an egg hatched and a new kiwi chick joins the world.

"The kiwi chick then lives at the hatchery for four weeks before heading to a sanctuary or to an outside habitat here at Rainbow Springs to grow up to 1kg before being released back into the forest."

For more information about the National Kiwi Hatchery, or sponsoring a kiwi, visit