Easter eggs are not supposed to be broken until Easter Sunday, but nobody will mind the cracking of an egg on Good Friday that produced the 100th kiwi chick for the 2020/21 season at the Crombie Lockwood Kiwi Burrow at Wairakei.
"This season has been huge, and we're so happy to welcome the 100th kiwi of the season to the Burrow whānau," said Kiwi Burrow husbandry manager Helen McCormick.
"The anticipation of the 100th hatch has been building over the last month – will we reach it, won't we reach it – so the fact that we reached this significant milestone at Easter is an extra special touch to this achievement."
The Kiwi Burrow was opened in late 2019 as part of the Kiwis for kiwis Operation Nest Egg kōhanga strategy, where eggs are lifted from the wild and transported to the Burrow and other incubation facilities.
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Kiwi chicks hatch and are raised to around four weeks of age before being released into predator-free kōhanga kiwi sites.
Kiwis for kiwi executive director Michelle Impey says cracking the elusive 100 in one season is a momentous milestone that makes the work of multiple parties and partners worth it.
"The Burrow team has the privilege of holding each of the chicks that hatches in the facility, but we couldn't do any of this without the support of the multiple projects, partners and sponsors that support our work," says Impey.
"Kiwi conservation and the work that occurs at the Burrow relies on a truly collaborative approach between many people and organisations, and we're privileged that so many people support the mahi that we and the projects we support put into this important cause."
The new chick (its sex won't be known until genetic testing is carried out) will focus on eating and putting on weight and will join the founder population of kiwi at the predator-free Sanctuary Mountain Maungatautari in about a month's time.
Eventually they'll find a mate and start breeding, and in the future their offspring will be uplifted from Maungatautari and released into safe spaces to create new or boost existing kiwi populations.