Efforts to rescue a kiwi egg living life on the edge near roadworks have proven successful and Eastern Bay of Plenty locals couldn’t be happier.
Now named ‘Tumai’, the chick was found as an egg in a nest perilously close to where roadworks machinery was operating near Kohi point in Whakatāne in April.
The egg was taken to Rotorua’s Rainbow Springs National Kiwi Hatchery where it was incubated, and the chick was raised.
Tumai was welcomed back to Whakatāne last week with Te Runanga o Ngāti Awa and Whakatane Kiwi Trust both being over the moon about the juvenile eastern brown kiwi’s return.
Whakatane Kiwi Trust kiwi handler, Sue Laurent says kiwi are not restricted to native forest and can use a wide range of diverse places to nest and breed.
“They can be found in native forest, dunes, pine forests – or in Tumai’s case, a roadside verge”
Kaumātua Charlie Bluett and Mac Kingi of Ngāti Hokopū hapū – Ngāti Awa led the karakia with the support of Te Rūnanga o Ngāti Awa and kaimahi from Korehāhā Whakahau – A Ngāti Awa-led pest eradication project.
Tūmai originates from the name Rangitūmai – who was the son of Tamaruarangi a principle chief of the area who occupied a pā of historical significance to Ngāti Awa nearby on the eastern side of Ōtarawairere.
Thanks to captive rearing at Rainbow Springs, Tumai reached the ‘stoat proof’ weight of 1000 g at which young kiwi can be safely returned to the wild or transferred to a new site to establish a new population.
With help from the Whakatane Kiwi Trust, local iwi and the community, kiwi in the Whakatane district are continuing to prosper. Kiwi calls can be heard all around town, and those who live adjacent to reserves may even have kiwi forage in their garden. There is no other urban centre in the country that has kiwi in such proximity.
Whakatane’s thriving Kiwi population has led it to be known as the ‘Kiwi Capital of the World’ and Whakatane Kiwi Trust estimates there’s 350 Kiwi in the reserves surrounding the township.