The first shore plover chick has been successfully bred at a dedicated Hawke's Bay sanctuary.

Kotahi Aviary, New Zealand's third shore plover captive breeding facility, is located on Beach Rd at Cape Sanctuary.

Cape Sanctuary founder Andy Lowe said the discovery of the nest and egg was a surprise, as breeding wasn't generally expected at a new site in the first few years.

"Our shore plover team are very proud to be a part of saving this special shorebird from extinction. Without financial support from companies like Kotahi, this special bird would be lost from our shores forever. We are blessed to have companies that are prepared to invest in conservation," he said.


The Kotahi Aviary was officially opened in March 2018 by Department of Conservation director general Lou Sanson and is a long-term partnership between Kotahi, DoC and Cape Sanctuary, a significant wildlife restoration programme at Cape Kidnappers to breed the critically endangered New Zealand shore plover.

NZ Shore plover are small, colourful shore birds found throughout New Zealand until the mid-1800s.

Introduced predators wiped them out on mainland New Zealand, and they were reduced to about 130 birds on Rangatira (South East) Island in the Chatham Islands.

They nest on the ground, so are vulnerable to predators, especially rats.

They also cannot fly when they hatch, and it takes between 29 and 62 days until they fledge.

There are only about 250 birds in the wild and captivity.

Eight shore plover have successfully settled at the Kotahi Aviary. Two breeding pairs have been established, and one chick produced.

Kotahi chief executive David Ross said it was proud to work with Lowe and the talented group of volunteers and lovers of New Zealand's wildlife, to ensure future generations had the chance to experience the shore plover in its natural habitat.


"This is a significant milestone on our journey," he said.

The Kotahi Aviary gave DoC an opportunity to relocate the birds from The Isaac Conservation and Wildlife Trust in Christchurch and PÅ«kaha Mt Bruce in the Wairarapa, increasing the size and security of the captive population.