A very late chick has just hatched at Rainbow Springs' Kiwi Encounter hatchery.

Aptly named Tail End Charlie the egg is from Tongariro and was found by Department of Conservation (DOC) staff who were looking for Max, the male kiwi to change his transmitter.

This is the first egg from this particular male kiwi for the season and the 34th egg to be brought in during the season for hatching from Tongariro.

Rainbow Springs' Kiwi Husbandry Manager Claire Travers said that as far as she was aware it was the latest egg to ever arrive at the park during a hatch season.


"It's amazing that we were incubating an egg from the last season alongside two eggs from the start of the new 2016/2017 season. Why it's so late, I'm unsure."

Kiwi Encounter hatched at total of 102 chicks during the 2015/2016 season and is now gearing up for another busy season ahead, which usually starts in September and goes through until June.

The two eggs currently in incubation are due to hatch in early September.

Highlights of the season include:

• A host of chicks named after the Rugby World Cup - Retallick (man of match 1st game), Cherry Blossom (for the Japanese), Savea (after Julian Savea), Twickenham (for the ground) and Seven (as it was the seventh RWC semi final the All Blacks played in)

• Welcoming the 1,500th kiwi chick Mighty Dash

• Taranaki chick Rock Star that hatched in a car on the way to Kiwi Encounter

Rainbow Springs' involvement in kiwi conservation began in 1995 with the arrival of an orphaned egg and the Kiwi Encounter hatchery has grown over the years to become the largest kiwi hatching facility in New Zealand, successfully incubating and hatching brown kiwi eggs from around the North Island.

The team raises the chicks to a 'stoat-proof' weight of 1kg before relasing them back into the wild to increase their chances of survival.

To donate, or sponsor a kiwi click here.