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Ardern names Pukaha kiwi

PM Jacinda Ardern with Wairarapa Labour list MP Kieran McAnulty and kiwi head ranger Jess Flamy. PHOTO/PUKAHA NATIONAL WILDLIFE CENTRE

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After a powhiri to welcome the Prime Minister to Pukaha National Wildlife Centre for the first time on Thursday, Rangitane o Wairarapa invited Jacinda Ardern to name a kiwi about to hatch.

Ardern asked students from Pahiatua’s St Anthony’s school for ideas and then went to the hatchery to spend time thinking about the right name while looking closely at the egg.

She then held a six-day-old chick and named the one about to arrive: Koha Te Aroha. ‘A gift to New Zealand’.

Pukaha general manager Emily Court said Ardern had chosen the name because she wanted to acknowledge the generosity of Rangitane in gifting back the land for Pukaha from its treaty settlement.

Ardern said in her speech after the powhiri that New Zealand was very grateful to the generous Rangitane people.

She mentioned the need to take great care of the Pukaha “taonga” [treasured possession].

“Some people say we are not doing enough for the environment, and others, too much, but I say we must do more for the next generation.”

Male kiwi are the ones that sit on the egg and essentially care for it.

It takes about 70 to 80 days for a kiwi egg to incubate, and up to five days to hatch.

The egg is taken from the nest later to improve the chances of survival.

If born in wild, there is a 5 per cent survival rate.

If hatched in captivity and released into the wild at about 1-1.2kg [which takes about 7 months], there is a 65 per cent survival rate.

The soon-to-hatch chick, Koha Te Aroha will be fed strips of ox heart made to look like worms as this is part of the diet the chick will hunt for in the wild.

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