A Visit to the National Kiwi Hatchery

22 Feb 2024

Over 25 million native birds are killed in New Zealand each year. That’s nearly one bird killed every second. In kiwis alone, 60% of eggs don’t hatch in the wild, and only 5% of those that do hatch reach adulthood.

In the last week of the school holidays, Britten lead students had the life-changing opportunity to visit the National Kiwi Hatchery, Aotearoa’s leader in kiwi husbandry, egg incubation systems, and hatching techniques.  We visited their newly built facility located near Rotorua where over 120 eggs are hatched per year, with a success rate of over 90% – a big supporter of the dwindling kiwi population.

Our experience included learning all about Kiwi, their native environment and what makes them truly iconic. We delved into darkness, spotting foraging Kiwi in the hatchery’s purpose-built nocturnal house and discovered their secrets in the dozens of interactive displays. We spoke to keepers whilst eggs were incubated, were educated on the hatching process and were lucky enough to watch Boniedoon (a feisty young kiwi chick) being hand-fed Mrs Miggins meatloaf, an artificial diet used at the hatchery. Not only did we admire the techniques used to incubate the eggs and meet kiwis close to release, but also had the chance to see hatched kiwis as young as one hour old!

Succeeding the trip, the Britten lead team has planned several fundraising events in the hope of raising as much money as possible for the National Kiwi Hatchery. Donations may go towards the creation of ‘pens’ used in habitats, or to the organisation alone. We hope to continue the legacy and connection between the National Kiwi Hatchery and Britten whānau at BDSC, as we have done in the past.

There will be many opportunities throughout the year to donate to Britten in support of the National Kiwi Hatchery – be the reason our national bird, the Kiwi exists for future generations.

If you would like to make a donation to our whānau charity please contact k.mclennan@bdsc.school.nz.  Alternatively, if you can help us with timber, hardware to make kiwi sleeping boxes, please get in touch.

~ Britten Lead Students 


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