This past weekend PB was involved with the celebrations of the 50th Anniversary of Westland-Tai Poutini National Park. I sort of went along to be his roadie, and kind of to get out of town for a few days. It was a great weekend over all, and we got a few caches between times. But my highlight was meeting the rowi.
The rowi is New Zealand’s most rare kiwi species. There are around 350 of them, and their main habitat is the South Okarito Forest in South Westland. It was only discovered in 1994 after DNA studies that they were a separate species. So now NZ officially has five ‘species’ of kiwi at present with 11 different types identified.
The eggs are taken from the nests and incubated at a wildlife park in the city, then once they hatch, they are taken to a predator-free island until they are about a year old and weigh a kilogram. At this weight they are big enough to fight a stoat and are much more able to survive in the wild. Six of these young rowi were released on the weekend, and two of them came to visit at the celebrations. Only the very important guests got to hold one, but the rest of us got a chance to take photos, pat them and talk with the project leader.
The Honourable Minister seemed rather reluctant to give the little kiwi back, and I have to say he seemed very contented and blissful snuggling with her. Now, I might not agree with her party’s politics, but perhaps she’s the right woman for her job if this little kiwi knows anything!!!