A second breeding pair of North Island brown kiwi will be welcomed to the Te Puia breeding enclosure, bringing the total number of kiwi on-site to seven.
The new pair – Raukura and Zephyr – will arrive on Friday from Kiwi North in Whangarei, and will join Kahu and Awhi, another recently established breeding pair.
Te Puia kiwi conservation centre manager Tracy Johnson said she was delighted to welcome Raukura and Zephyr.
"It's fantastic to have the pair here with us, demonstrating our clear commitment towards helping to save this precious taonga, one of Aotearoa's most loved and vulnerable native species."
Te Puia is one of 14 parks and zoos around Aotearoa that are part of the coordinated captive management programme for the North Island brown kiwi that is overseen by the Department of Conservation and the Zoo and Aquarium Association.
"Having two breeding pairs means we can take a more active role in the programme and contribute to bolstering the kiwi population in New Zealand.
"With two pairs, we could potentially have three eggs laid each year per pair, which, if successfully hatched, will either be released into predator safe areas or given to parks and zoos where they will, in turn, be part of the breeding programme."
Te Puia's kiwi conservation centre opened at the end of 2019, offering manuhiri (visitors) an up-close-and-personal viewing and educational experience.
"Manuhiri won't be able to view the recent arrivals in the breeding enclosure but if they visit Te Puia at night, they'll likely hear the kiwi calls echoing across the valley."
Miriata Ruaporo is now working in the conservation team, despite being made redundant when Covid-19 struck.
Johnson said she was flourishing in her new role.
"She's received extensive training and mentoring and is now undertaking study to gain her captive animal management qualification."
Te Puia has been home to kiwi since the early 1970s, initially as a rehabilitation centre for injured kiwi that were received from the wild. The original nocturnal house was built in 1976.