Pūkaha recently welcomed the 102nd kiwi chick to be hatched at the wildlife centre.

Pūkaha rangers and volunteers have collected four kiwi eggs from the Pūkaha forest so far this season and have begun the very delicate and specialised incubation process in the kiwi house nursery.

The rangers will carefully turn the remaining three eggs four times a day while maintaining the temperature at 35.5 degrees Celsius until they hatch.

Pūkaha, National Wildlife Centre is part of a National Kiwi Recovery programme Operation Nest Egg which involves uplifting kiwi eggs from the wild to improve their chances of survival against predators such as ferrets, stoats and rats.

They are incubated, hatched in the nursery and hand raised to a weight of approximately 1.2kg — — fighting weight, before being released back into the reserve.

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Visitors to Pūkaha can expect to see the new kiwi chick hatchling over the coming two weeks once head kiwi ranger Jess Flamy decides it is ready to start its introduction to the captive kiwi diet. Once they start on this feeding regime the public can watch the feed daily at the 12pm kiwi talk.

The Pūkaha rangers will continue feeding the kiwi chick until they are confident the chick has accepted the diet and is eating it on its own. Chicks are transferred to the "kiwi creche" outdoor enclosures at Pūkaha where they stay until their release.

"We are all pretty excited when the eggs start hatching," General Manager Emily Court says. "The team is ready to gather up visitors in the reserve should an egg start hatching during opening hours. It is an extraordinary thing to witness".