The best things come in twos, apparently. On 2/2/2022, a very special kiwi chick hatched at the Crombie Lockwood Kiwi Burrow.

Given the name “Whakaora” which means “healing” or “to save”, this chick is the 200th kiwi to hatch at the dedicated hatching and brooding facility since it opened in December 2019.

In addition to “Whakaora”, there are also 12 eggs keeping warm in incubators, three eggs in various stages of hatching, and 14 chicks putting on weight in the brooder room. So far this season, 81 chicks have been released into kiwi-safe habitat, which means the Crombie Lockwood Kiwi Burrow is on track to beat last season’s total of 101 successful hatches.

Save the Kiwi Executive Director Michelle Impey says reaching 200 hatches is significant for all of Aotearoa.

“95% of kiwi chicks that hatch in areas without predator control will die before they reach adulthood,” says Ms Impey. “200 kiwi chicks that probably wouldn’t have survived in the wild if they’d been left to fend for themselves will make a huge difference to the future of the kiwi population.”

Ms Impey says any success achieved at the Crombie Lockwood Kiwi Burrow is thanks to a huge amount of passion and collaboration.

“The idea behind the Crombie Lockwood Kiwi Burrow first ‘hatched’ because we needed to create capacity for our Kōhanga Kiwi kaupapa which we knew would make a tangible difference to the future of kiwi. Reaching such a big milestone in only our second full season is testament to both our vision and the iwi, kiwi conservation groups, and organisations we work alongside.

“Hitting this milestone of 200 chicks is the result of overwhelming support from people and organisations who are as passionate about saving the kiwi as we are. Crombie Lockwood and the team at Wairakei Golf + Sanctuary have been wonderful partners since they joined the cause in 2019 and without their backing we wouldn’t be here today.”

Crombie Lockwood Insurance Brokers CEO Carl O’Shea says it’s an honour to support a cause that’s making a real difference to kiwi conservation.

“It is a real privilege to extend our support to the protection of kiwi” says Mr O’Shea. “Every chick that hatches makes a difference to the future of the population and we are thrilled to celebrate number 200 with Save the Kiwi and of course the wonderful team at the Crombie Lockwood Kiwi Burrow.”

The egg was originally gifted to Save the Kiwi’s Kōhanga Kiwi programme by Ngāti Tama in Taranaki. When the chick reaches approximately four weeks old, he (or she – we won’t know until DNA testing is completed) will be released into the fenced, predator-free Sanctuary Mountain Maungatautari, where they’ll spend the rest of their days roaming the wild without fear of predators.

Eventually, this chick’s offspring will return to Ngāti Tama or be relocated to other safe parts of the North Island to establish new kiwi populations or boost existing ones.

Save the Kiwi has just launched a fundraising campaign called Donate a Day, which encourages people to donate the dollar value of a day of earned annual leave (or half a day, or an hour) to Save the Kiwi. All contributions will go towards returning kiwi to places where they used to live and thrive. Find out more here.