The Prime Minister’s Kiwi Hatches

Published: Wed 13 Nov 2019 03:33 PM
•Koha Te Aroha shares name with daughter Neve -
Mount Bruce, Masterton: Pūkaha National Wildlife Centre is pleased to announce the successful hatching of Koha Te Aroha, the small kiwi chick named by Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern. The Prime Minister’s kiwi hatched on Friday 8th of November 2019 at 6.30pm and weighed just 306 grams. The chick’s sex is not obvious but can be determined after six months if feathers are sent for DNA testing. The hatching follows the Prime Minister’s visit to Pūkaha on 7th November 2019, where she was welcomed by Mike Kawana, the kaumātua for Rangitāne o Wairarapa, and invited to name one of the kiwi eggs waiting to hatch in an incubator.
A thrilled Jacinda Ardern – and now proud new ‘kiwi’ mother - was said to be ecstatic at the news of the successful hatching. It was also the first time she had ever named a kiwi. The Prime Minister said, “It was humbling to be able to, for the very first time, name one of our most beloved birds. I thank Rangitāne o Wairarapa for giving me this special honour”.
Adern named the wee kiwi Koha Te Aroha (gift of love) in acknowledgement of the Wairarapa iwi’s incredible gifting to New Zealand of Pūkaha’s 942 hectare forest reserve that will happen in February 2021. She said the reciprocity of giving and love, also evident in her daughter’s name, played a part in her decision. “In the same way that I considered naming Neve Te Aroha, I thought about the people around us that had so much hope for our future and showed us incredible kindness and so it was in the spirit of giving, and the generosity of Rangitāne o Wairarapa who have gifted the land for Pūkaha, that Koha came to mind”, she said.
Koha Te Aroha is from one of a batch of kiwi eggs given to Pūkaha for hatching in 2019 through the Kiwis for kiwi programme, Saving the Kiwi. This aims to reverse the decline of kiwi numbers in New Zealand and instead grow the overall kiwi population by 2% every year. It does this using Operation Nest Egg to stock a few predator-free sites, called kiwi kōhanga. These are usually islands, or predator-free fenced sanctuaries. Eggs are collected from the wild, incubated in a facility such as Pūkaha National Wildlife Centre, and the chicks released to the kōhanga at around 3 or 4 weeks of age. There, they will grow, find a mate, and have chicks of their own. In time, the young kiwi will be removed and released to safe places in the wild.
Koha Te Aroha will spend next 20 days at Pūkaha gaining strength for the journey to Sanctuary Mountain Maungatautari, a kiwi kōhanga site near Cambridge. It is hoped the new hatchling will remind others of the gifts of love, kindness and giving and be an advocate for kiwi conservation in the years to come.

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