Thanks to the support of Crombie Lockwood, we are one step closer to reversing the decline of the national kiwi population.
The Crombie Lockwood Kiwi Burrow is a specialist kiwi incubation, hatching, and brooding facility located in Wairakei, just out of Taupō. Opened in December 2019 and made possible by the support of insurance brokers Crombie Lockwood and Wairakei Golf + Sanctuary, the facility is a key tool that will help Save the Kiwi achieve our Kōhanga Kiwi goals.
Eggs are collected from the wild and transported to the Crombie Lockwood Kiwi Burrow where they’re incubated, hatched, and cared for until they reach around three weeks old and can feed themselves. The centre can cater for around 100 eggs a year.
From there, most birds are released into, Sanctuary Mountain Maungatautari, where they’ll live the rest of their days without fear of predators. Eventually, offspring from this founder population will be translocated back into the wild.
Inside the Crombie Lockwood Kiwi Burrow
Designed by leading kiwi incubation specialist Claire Travers, the Crombie Lockwood Kiwi Burrow was officially opened by Ngāti Tūwharetoa in December 2019. The centre incubates and hatches eggs that have been collected throughout the North Island. Once the chicks can feed independently, at around 21 days old, most birds are relocated to build a founder population at Sanctuary Mountain Maungatautari. Some are released into the Wairakei Golf + Sanctuary crèche where they’ll stay for approximately six months, until they have reached the ‘stoat-proof’ weight of 1kg, at which point they’re released into the wild.
The Burrow’s husbandry team looks after the eggs and chicks that come through the facility like they’re their own babies. The team carries out intensive incubation, hatching, brooding, husbandry, and reporting practices to ensure their charges are happy and healthy during their time at the Burrow and are as equipped as possible to fend for themselves when they’re released into the kōhanga site at Sanctuary Mountain Maungatautari.
The Crombie Lockwood Kiwi Burrow is instrumental in helping our Kōhanga Kiwi strategy achieve its goals. In fact, the Burrow will allow us to do in 5-10 years what would have taken 50 years or more otherwise.
The brooder wing
In September 2020, capacity at The Crombie Lockwood Kiwi Burrow was given a boost with the installation of the “brooder wing”, a specially modified 40-foot container that is fully kitted out with everything that’s necessary for the brooding of kiwi chicks. This expansion means the facility now has capacity to manage 100-120 kiwi.
When it’s not a home to freshly hatched chicks, the brooder wing can be used for other solutions like an ICU for injured kiwi, and a quarantine for chicks found in the wild.
Crombie Lockwood’s support
Without the support of naming sponsor Crombie Lockwood, this facility wouldn’t exist. Crombie Lockwood CEO, Carl O’Shea, is excited to partner with an organisation working to safeguard such an iconic species.
“Crombie Lockwood 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 Save the Kiwi.
“Throughout our 40 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 Save the Kiwi.”
Wairakei Golf + Sanctuary
Wairakei Golf + Sanctuary is a world-class golf course located within a predator-proof sanctuary, making it one of the most unique golf courses in the world. Since 2012, Wairakei has worked closely with the Department of Conservation Te Papa Atawhai to develop conservation and restoration opportunities for native birds and wildlife to thrive, including creating a crèche for kiwi chicks and a ‘retirement home’ for retired breeding takahē (although Wairakei’s three takahe pairs have enjoyed sanctuary life so much, three takahe chicks have been welcomed in the last few years!).
A wide range of both native and exotic wildlife flourish within the sanctuary, including mixed-colour pheasants, guinea fowl, pekin ducks, fallow deer, and a pair of kārearea/New Zealand falcon that have nested and raised their chicks there for many years.
Wairakei Golf + Sanctuary owner, Gary Lane, is a long-term supporter of Save the Kiwi. When the idea to create the Crombie Lockwood Kiwi Burrow was first imagined in 2019, he offered a site within the sanctuary and contributed to the build of the facility. The Wairakei team continues to support the work done at the Burrow and show a keen interest in progress of the kiwi chicks.
In addition to the husbandry team at the Crombie Lockwood Kiwi Burrow, Save the Kiwi has two kiwi rangers who manage the kiwi crèche at Wairakei Golf + Sanctuary. Most chicks that are not released onto Sanctuary Mountain Maungatautari are released into the predator-proof kiwi crèche where they are regularly monitored over approximately six months until they reach the ‘stoat-proof’ weight of 1kg. At this weight, a kiwi can confidently take on a stoat if it comes face to face with one in the wild. Once the birds reach this milestone, they are removed from the crèche and released into the wild where predator control is active.
The latest news from the Crombie Lockwood Kiwi Burrow
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