Makeover for the home of Nga¯ Manu’s own kiwi

Horowhenua Chronicle - - NEWS - By ROS­ALIE WIL­LIS

The noc­tur­nal house at Nga¯ Manu Na­ture Re­serve in Waikanae is get­ting a makeover with to im­prove con­di­tions for their res­i­dent dis­play ki­wis.

A new air-con­di­tion­ing unit is be­ing in­stalled along with a run­ning stream, thanks to fund­ing from the ANZ Staff Foun­da­tion fund.

Ded­i­cated to the con­ser­va­tion and preser­va­tion of na­tive flora and fauna, Nga¯ Manu is also a tourist at­trac­tion.

“Last sum­mer we no­ticed the tem­per­a­ture was get­ting up to the high 20s and we were do­ing ev­ery­thing we could to keep the tem­per­a­ture down,” said Nga¯ Manu man­ager Matu Booth. “The air-con­di­tion­ing unit will give us the abil­ity to con­trol and keep the tem­per­a­ture within the 14-20 de­gree range which is the ideal cli­mate for kiwi noc­tur­nal houses.”

How­ever the ki­wis will not be con­fined to a life of bore­dom in an en­clo­sure al­ways the same tem­per­a­ture. The tem­per­a­ture will still change sea­son­ally, keep­ing the ki­wis in­ter­ested, but in a con­trolled way.

“We also al­ter the day and night cy­cles with the days be­ing shorter in win­ter and longer in sum­mer. It’s a pretty ar­ti­fi­cial set up but hav­ing these up­grades will en­able us to cre­ate the best habi­tat pos­si­ble.

“ANZ came to the party — they gave us a grant for $16,337 — the price of the unit and the in­stal­la­tion.

“By hav­ing a run­ning stream it will keep the at­mos­phere there and will also pro­vide a back­ground noise of run­ning wa­ter which is prefer­able to any­thing else ki­wis could have in a space like that.

“Ki­wis like wa­ter. Just like other birds they will sit and bathe in it.

“It should give them some pos­i­tive stim­u­la­tion.”

In about three weeks’ time once the up­grades are com­plete the house will be home to five­month-old kiwi Awhina and a young kiwi male, yet to ar­rive at Nga¯ Manu who will be the dis­play birds.

Nga¯ Manu’s other three-yearold ki­wis Puha and A¯ taahua will be re-homed to an out­side en­clo­sure.

“The ki­wis which are too young to breed will be our dis­play birds.

“That’s the way our re­cov­ery group wants us to do it — they want us to have birds that are breed­ing birds in a nat­u­ral en­vi­ron­ment so they’ll do their stuff in an off-dis­play aviary.

“But the dis­play birds which are too young to breed will be on dis­play in the house un­til they are ready to breed in a few years.

“From a re­cov­ery pro­gramme per­spec­tive it’s all about keep­ing the ge­net­ics flow­ing.

“The amount of public­ity about con­ser­va­tion and habi­tat we can gen­er­ate by hav­ing a kiwi dis­play is huge.

“Nga¯ Manu has had this kiwi house since the early 1980s and it has in­cred­i­ble pulling power.

“People want to see what a kiwi looks like.

“Seventy to eighty per cent of over­seas visi­tors want to see the kiwi.

“They don’t want to see ev­ery­thing else so these up­grades mean a lot to Nga¯ Manu.”

Also on the wish list for the up­grade is LED light­ing that will help grow the plants for the kiwi en­clo­sure to make it more homely for its in­hab­i­tants, for which Nga Manu is ac­tively seek­ing fund­ing.

If you would like to sup­port this up­grade con­tact Matu via man­ager@nga­manu.co.nz

Five-month old kiwi Awhina will move into Nga¯ Manu Na­ture Re­serve’s up­graded noc­tur­nal house in a few weeks time.

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