All kiwi hatchings are special but this week's one at the National Kiwi Hatchery was especially so.

It was the 2000th kiwi to be born there, which is an incredible achievement, hatchery spokeswoman Helen McCormick said.

"We've learned a huge amount about when they get into a few troubles.

"There's been a lot of innovation with the team over the years, with bad eggs, damaged eggs, but we mostly like to leave them to it and they can do it on their own," she said.


More than 130 chicks hatch each year at the hatchery, based at Rotorua's Rainbow Springs. Each one can be a lengthy process.

"It can take three to five days from the start of the hatching process through to hatching fully out," McCormick said. "They start by internally pipping the egg, they begin breathing air through the hole. We see nothing external for a few days early on, that's when they make the first crack in the shell, and start to actually emerge."

The newborn kiwi only get to stay in the incubation units for about two days, which means those wanting to see this newborn chick will only really get to see it on Friday before its is taken to a brooder unit, where it will be given the chance to develop and grow stronger.

"It will stay on site until it's about three weeks old. Then this particular chick will go to Maungatautari mountain sanctuary, a fully fenced mountain where the chick can grow up in the safety of that mountain. Then when it breeds, its offspring can go back to Taranaki."

The chick will be regularly weighed, measured and given medicine to prevent infections. Slightly older kiwis are kept separate and are also closely monitored by the extensive team.

"This project involves so many people," McCormick said. "From the Department of Conservation, volunteers and so many people working in the field and collectively. It takes all those people to run a project like this.

"Rainbow Springs and Ngāi Tahu have been awesome in their support of this project."

It takes three days to determine the sex of the kiwi, so staff won't name their new addition just yet. But, name or no name, with the hatchery increasing survival rates by 65 per cent, this young kiwi has a bright future ahead.


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