Kiwi birds sail by waka to new home on Motutapu Island

Three Coromandel brown kiwi are sailing by waka to their new home on Motutapu Island this Saturday.

Coromandel brown kiwi are one of the rarest types of kiwi in the North Island with only 1800 of its species remaining.

The eggs were uplifted from Thames Coast Kiwi Care project, then they were taken to AKL Zoo to incubate and hatch. 

The juvenile birds, now between 9-16 weeks, will be joining the other 30 or so kiwi on the predator-free Motutapu with the goal of establishing a genetically viable and sustainable population of Coromandel brown kiwi.

Motutapu Restoration Trust (MRT) will be welcoming the birds on the final leg of their journey as they sail, for the first time, by Waka Hourua from their crèche on Rotoroa Island to their new home on Motutapu. 

The arrival of the birds by waka signals Ngai Tai ki Tamaki’s strong link to their ancestral roots on Motutapu Island and their guardianship of kiwi.  This is the first major kiwi release following the settlement. 

James Brown, Chair of Ngai Tai ki Tamaki has said it is also an opportunity for the rangatahi to revitalise tribal knowledge and skills of traditional navigation and sailing between the inner islands of Tikapa Moana.  A number of Iwi have been involved in this project.

One of the reasons for the event is the Motutapu Restoration Trust’s coming of age, as they turn 21  and the celebration of many volunteers’ hours, weeks and years of dedication to ensure kiwi and other native birds can flourish.