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Kiwi Conservation

Saving Kiwi Together

You are here: Kiwi Conservation

Rainbow Springs first became involved in kiwi when they were first displayed here in 1975, allowing us to show and educate visitors about these unusual creatures who have whiskers like a cat, massive feet and who couldn't fly.

Later, Rainbow Springs joined the the Operation Nest Egg programme (O.N.E) in 1995 when we received our first egg from the Tongariro Forest Kiwi Sanctuary. Our work since 1995 has helped the North Island population of the Brown kiwi considerably. We now receive eggs from 15 sanctuaries and reserves around the North Island and are the leading kiwi hatchery in the country.  From our beginnings with one egg hatched as part of the Department of Conservation O.N.E initiative, we have now hatched over 1500 eggs at the Kiwi Encounter facility.

The Department of Conservation staff and field teams monitor male kiwi and when they have established incubation of eggs in the field, teams then lift the eggs from the burrows and bring them to us partially incubated. We complete the incubation artificially (kiwi eggs take approximately 78 days to incubate in artificial conditions, slightly longer when in the wild) and raise the chicks to 1kg in weight. They are then returned to the wild by D.O.C. staff.

With the increase in hatching success rate, the numbers of eggs brought to Rainbow Springs rapidly increased over the first few years and a decision was made to re-invest in a new facility that would be open for public admission and enable New Zealanders and international visitors to see the work being undertaken. In late April 2004 we opened Kiwi Encounter.

The benefits for kiwi conservation are:

1. We have greater capacity to handle more eggs and chicks.

2. A team of qualified staff and specialist equipment to do more conservation work.

3. Rainbow Springs’ Kiwi Encounter is a wonderful educational facility for the advocacy of kiwi.

4. People visiting Rainbow Springs’ Kiwi Encounter will now be helping to fund this facility thereby directly contributing to kiwi conservation.