The kiwi population is going to get a significant boost from a new state of the art kiwi incubation facility being constructed within the grounds of Wairakei Golf and Sanctuary.

The dedicated kiwi incubation, hatching and brooding facility, named the Crombie Lockwood Kiwi Burrow, has been made possible through support from insurance brokers, Crombie Lockwood. The Burrow will enable Kiwis for kiwi to process more than 200 kiwi eggs annually once the facility becomes operational in October.

Kiwis for kiwi Executive Director, Michelle Impey, said the facility will provide opportunities to maximise the work of Operation Nest Egg and deliver on the national strategy to turn the kiwi population’s two percent decline into a two percent increase.

“We are delighted that we have found a partner in Crombie Lockwood who is as committed to saving kiwi as we are. Their significant contribution will see a national centre of excellence for kiwi husbandry established which will also serve as an education facility for kiwi practitioners.

“Our strategy to accelerate kiwi numbers and reverse the decline is only going to be possible if we have the capacity to incubate, hatch and nurture the increased number of eggs coming through. We have changed the way we’re doing things to make greater gains. The development of this new facility is a key component of the strategy that will allow us to do in 5-10 years what would have taken 50 years or more. We are getting closer to our goal of taking kiwi from endangered to everywhere,” said Ms Impey.

Designed by leading kiwi incubation specialist Claire Travers, the Crombie Lockwood Kiwi Burrow will incubate and hatch eggs collected from the Taranaki/Whanganui region and once the chicks can feed naturally – at around 21 days old – they will be relocated to build a founder population at Sanctuary Mountain Maungatautari. It is anticipated that in two to three years the emphasis will shift to building an Eastern Brown kiwi founder population in other areas such as Mahia Peninsula.

Crombie Lockwood CEO, Carl O’Shea, said he is excited to partner with an organisation working to safeguard such an iconic species.

“Our business is all about helping New Zealanders protect the things that are important to them and this partnership allows us to do this with a treasured national asset, on behalf of New Zealanders. It is a real privilege to be able to support the work of Kiwis for kiwi.

“Throughout our forty years of business we’ve kept the kiwi values we were founded on close to heart and we recognise how important conservation is to the country and the very real need to preserve our unique biodiversity. Every day we promise our clients that we will do the right thing by them and do our best to ensure their survival and we are dedicated to extending this commitment to Kiwis for kiwi,” said Mr O’Shea.

Wairakei International Golf Course owner, Gary Lane, a long-term supporter of Kiwis for kiwi, is providing a site for the Crombie Lockwood Kiwi Burrow.

Nonprofit KiwiSaver provider Simplicity is funding the fit-out. This will include the incubators, brooder boxes and all of the supporting equipment required from electronic scales to bowls for feeding the chicks.

“We’re delighted to be able to help with this important initiative to preserve our national bird. Simplicity is hard-wired to help and our members have signaled our unique Kiwi environment as a top priority for our charitable funding,” says Simplicity’s managing director Sam Stubbs.

“As a fledging ourselves, we take particular pride in being able to help with the incubation and nurturing of the chicks. And like any expectant parent, we can’t wait for the births!”