They say it takes a village to raise a child - well it's the same for kiwi - one of New Zealands most endangered birds. Under threat due to predators there is a lot of hard work and love that goes into caring and protecting for them.
Despite their relatively small numbers, you can see this bird in real life at a number of kiwi houses and sanctuaries around New Zealand. If you’re lucky, you might even catch a glimpse of them in the wild.
Visit these kiwi houses and sanctuaries to view New Zealand's national bird:
- Rainbow Springs Rotorua – The hard work of kiwi experts at the National Kiwi Hatchery has now led to 2,000 successful hatchings as they play a hugely important role in kiwi conservation. Visitors to New Zealand can view the incubation and hatching work by purchasing a National Kiwi Hatchery tour when visiting Rainbow Springs in Rotorua.
- Rotoroa Island – Auckland’s Rotoroa Island can be found in the Hauraki Gulf and is home to over 25 North Island Brown Kiwi. There is accommodation on the island so stay the night for your best chance of seeing or hearing a kiwi. Managed by The Rotoroa Island Trust, a small group of keen conservationists, an idyllic wildlife sanctuary has been created sitting just off the coast of Auckland city and open for everyone to enjoy.
- Otorohanga Kiwi House - Otorohanga Kiwi House have been conserving kiwi and other New Zealand natives since 1971. Visitors can learn about their active brown kiwi breeding programme from the friendly and knowledgeable guides in the heart of the North Island.
- Maungatautari Sanctuary Mountain - Rare and endangered New Zealand wildlife - including takahe, kiwi and tuatara - are thriving on Sanctuary Mountain at Maungatautari, a unique eco sanctuary. They have just launched a New Zealand first where visitors can be a part of a kiwi release - into Maungatautari's native bush.
- Pukaha National Wildlife Centre - Pukaha Mount Bruce National Wildlife Centre, in the Wairarapa, pioneered captive breeding techniques for some of the New Zealand’s most threatened birds. Pukaha is home to Manukura, a rare white kiwi, hatched in 2011.
- Kāpiti Island - The Kapiti Island Nature Reserve, 5km off the west coast at the southern end of the North Island, is one New Zealand’s most important sites for bird recovery. The little spotted kiwi, now extinct from the mainland forests, also thrives on Kapiti Island. Kapiti Island Nature Tours is a family run business with direct ties back to the early Māori who called the island their home.
- Zealandia - Just a few minutes by car from downtown Wellington, and nestled in a forested valley between city suburbs, Zealandia is an outdoor haven for some of New Zealand’s rarest native birds and animals and a living monument to world-leading conservation efforts.
- Willowbank Wildlife Reserve - Willowbank Wildlife Reserve in Christchurch incubates eggs for up to 4 species of kiwi – Ōkarito Rowi, Haast Tokoeka, Great Spotted and North Island Brown. Visit the reserve to see the dedicated team in action as they continue to hatch and re-release kiwi back into the wild.
- Orokonui Sanctuary - The 307ha Orokonui Eco-Sanctuary - 20km north of Dunedin - is restoring an entire forest ecosystem to its pre-human state. Visit the kiwi creche where the team raise the rarest of all kiwi, the Haast tokoeka.
- National Kiwi Centre Hokitika - The National Kiwi Centre is situated in the heart of Hokitika and provides the opportunity to get up close and personal with New Zealand’s national icons. You can engage directly with their wildlife keepers to learn more about New Zealand’s fascinating flightless birds.
- Stewart Island - The Real Journeys Kiwi Encounter is one of the ultimate kiwi experiences. Join an expert guide as you enjoy a short boat ride, followed by a walk through coastal forest, before reaching Ocean Beach. Here in the darkness you will get to see the Southern brown kiwi (Rakiura Tokoeka) in the wild as it searches for its dinner.