Precious kiwi eggs at the National Kiwi Hatchery Aotearoa have a new battery to keep them safe in case of a power outage, thanks to a $40,000 donation.

Mercury has donated a $40,000 battery and solar power package to the hatchery, which is based at Rainbow Springs Nature Park in Rotorua.

Rainbow Springs kiwi husbandry manager Emma Bean said it was fantastic to have Mercury's support.

"We can have over 40 eggs at the hatchery at one time, so having reliable backup power is hugely important. If the incubators turn off, the eggs could cool down and die," she said.


"With only about 68,000 kiwi left in all of New Zealand, having battery power as a back-up is a fantastic addition to the work that we are doing to save kiwi."

The hatchery team uses incubators and specialised equipment to care for eggs and chicks before they are hatched and returned to the wild.

Mercury chief marketing officer Julia Jack said: "The sun and kiwi aren't generally thought of together but our gift of solar panels and battery means that the sunshine at Rainbow Springs will be able to help both kiwi and the wonderful team that raise them."

The battery was installed as part of the hatchery's recent upgrade. It can provide 15 hours of backup power for the hatchery's kiwi egg incubators and other equipment.

The next stage of the solar power package will see solar panels installed on Rainbow Springs' new entrance building. Construction has started and the building is due to open mid-2019. The solar panels will provide all the building's electricity needs and offset the cost of charging the battery.

"The team at the National Kiwi Hatchery use so much of their own energy bringing baby kiwi into the world and giving them the best possible start in life," Jack said.

"We wanted to support them with the 'energy' we know something about – clean, green, renewable solar electricity."