At the end of last month, members travelled to Waikawa Marae to tautoko and support the release of nine juvenile rowi chicks. The chicks were released into a new kōhanga site at the head of Picton Harbour, Kaipūpū Point Sounds Wildlife Sanctuary.

This is an exciting development in our drive to save the critically endangered rowi. The need to find a new area is due to the success of the kiwis from the ‘kiwi ONE’ programme, which has seen an increase in the number of rowi being hatched from eggs collected in Ōkārito Forest. As a result, the existing kōhanga island, Motuara can’t accommodate them all.

Makaawhio, Department of Conservation (DOC) and our rowi were welcomed to Waikawa Marae by Te Ātiawa who will act as kaitiaki of the rowi for the time they remain in the area, under a memorandum of understanding (MOU) between DOC, Kaipūpū Point Mainland Island Society, Te Ātiawa and Makaawhio, signed on the day.

It was a great opportunity for those who have not yet seen these manu taoka up close, to be involved in the blessing ceremony and the release onto Kaipūpū Point Sounds Wildlife Sanctuary.

Tamariki get to see the rowi up close.

Tamariki get to see the rowi up close.

Hīkoi rowi arriving at the marae.

Hīkoi rowi arriving at the marae.