Hatchery to Home
In the last eight years, 89 chicks have been returned to the wild by the Whakatane Kiwi Project, and on a recent holiday to New Zealand, Vancouver-based freelancer Jennifer Laidlaw joins a crowd of 200 to watch Te Kauhoe, or the Paddler, make his own trip from box to burrow in the Mokorua Scenic Reserve. Conservationist with the Whakatane Kiwi Project Kerry Oates pulls back the top of the box, and carefully lifts out the brown, chicken-sized kiwi. “Come on, come on,” he clucks softly as the kiwi frantically shoves his long beak into Oates’ armpit. “Come on little guy, it’s time to see your new home,” Oates says.