Students play their part in kiwi conservation

SND07-wk4-Kiwi Shelter boxes 300x225Howick Intermediate students nailed and hammered for a worthy cause recently, building sturdy wooden kiwi shelter boxes for Rotorua’s Rainbow Springs.

The boxes, each handmade and labelled with the student’s name, were constructed as part of a school project and will be put to good use at the park as beds for the kiwi in the outdoor runs.

A group of eight of the students recently made the trip from Auckland to present the boxes to Rainbow Springs staff, and to see first hand how their boxes will be used.

Kiwi Encounter assistant husbandry manager Emma Bean said the students were very excited to visit the park and see the kiwi up close.

“The boxes have been beautifully made and will be very useful; we’re grateful for the effort they’ve all made.

“Kiwi Encounter, the kiwi hatchery at Rainbow Springs, is a charitable trust and relies on donations to keep hatching kiwi, so every donation helps.”

Students Adam, Lorrain, Angel, Jayden, Luke, Cameron, Jeet and Serine investigated reasons for the decline of New Zealand native birds and examined the impact on kiwi as part of the school project.

“We drew out a protective shelter three dimensionally, and included measurements, a step- by-step process and a materials list prior to manufacture,” Serine said.

“The shelter is to your (Rainbow Springs) specification and will nurture kiwi chicks. Our social action was to design and create a shelter for kiwi chicks so they can increase in numbers.”

The new kiwi hatching season is in full swing at Rainbow Springs’ Kiwi Encounter, with the arrival of the first two chicks of the season in the last week.

There are more than 20 other eggs in incubation from the Maungataniwha, Tongariro, Waimarino and Project Kiwi conservancies, with more due to arrive over the next few days.

Rainbow Springs plays a crucial role in kiwi conservation and breeding, as New Zealand’s largest and most successful kiwi hatching centre nurturing kiwi eggs brought in from around the North Island to save them from predators.

Rainbow Springs has hatched and nurtured more than 1380 eggs since 1995, when it first became involved in the ‘Save the Kiwi’ recovery programme.

The wild kiwi hatched this season will be released back into the wild once they reach about 1kg in weight.

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