An educational programme is giving Taupō school children the chance to get up close and personal with our national bird, the kiwi.
Kiwi Contact is a programme run by the national kiwi conservation charity Kiwis for
Kiwi, and supported by Contact Energy.
It allows local primary and intermediate schoolchildren to interact with Kiwi chicks at the sanctuary at Wairakei golf course near Taupō.
A pilot programme proved to be so successful last year that Contact Energy was sponsoring it again for this school year.
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To celebrate the renewed sponsorship, the company brought several Taupō schoolchildren to witness a new kiwi chick, Mr Peabody, being moved from The National Kiwi Hatchery in Rotorua to the Sanctuary at Wairakei golf course last month.
Contact Energy's head of sustainability, Kaapua Smith, said initiatives like this were
an important part of Contact's sustainability programme.
"We are pleased to play a small role in educating our youth in Taupō about the
importance of caring for and protecting our native species, including the iconic kiwi.
"It's about instilling a sense of connection between our kids and the natural
environment – and that's an important part of ensuring we're helping to build the next
generation of sustainability champions."
Kiwis for Kiwi's Michelle Impey said the numbers of kiwi in the Wairakei sanctuary
would increase as the school year progressed.
Children generally got three opportunities to interact with the endangered birds – when they first arrived, when kiwi rangers did health checks on them and when they were released into the wild.
The process was built on Operation Nest Egg where eggs were taken from the wild, incubated and hatched at facilities such as the National Kiwi Hatchery before being released into sanctuaries like Wairakei.