Te Puia planning new $1.5m kiwi house to open next year

Te Puia's Tracy Johnson and Tim Cossar prepare for the new $1.5 million Kiwi House. Photo / Supplied Rotorua Daily Post

Tourist destination Te Puia is hoping to open a new state-of-the-art $1.5 million Kiwi House on the site next year.

The house is expected to open in autumn 2019 and Te Puia chief executive, Tim Cossar hoped it would mark the start of a successful breeding programme on site.

“The new Kiwi House will enable a new focus on breeding, as well as providing the best possible environment for our birds, including museum grade glass, air units which can be set to perfect conditions for the kiwi and specialised lighting.”

Cossar said the house would also provide a space to view kiwi and tell the story of New Zealand’s national bird. Mature kiwi will be housed in a large outdoor enclosure in Te Whakarewarewa Valley – which will also hopefully encourage breeding.

He said the project had been unique.

“The Kiwi House redevelopment’s objective has been to create the optimum environment to protect the health and wellbeing of our national icon while ensuring visitors get the best experience possible to learn more about kiwi.

“We’ve been fortunate that several kiwi houses across the country have recently undergone renovations, so we’ve been able to learn from those to create the best possible environment for our kiwi at Te Puia.”

Te Puia Kiwi House manager, Tracy Johnson said caring for kiwi was a constantly evolving area.

“You have to rely on your own experiences, talk to as many people as possible, and create a space that has the flexibility to change and move with the kiwi within it.

“No two kiwi are the same, but all of us in the industry are working towards the same objective – the best outcome for our birds.”

Last weekend Te Puia released two birds which had been raised at the business. The pair was released into Egmont National Park.

They had originally arrived at Te Puia from the captive breeding programme at Otorohanga.

“They came to Te Puia to grow and be nurtured before they could be released. Now they’re the right weight and age to go,” Johnson said.

The release was carried out by the Taranaki Kiwi Trust in partnership with the Taranaki Mounga Project and the Department of Conservation.

A younger pair, Awhi and Kahu, have just arrived from Napier and once they’re mature, it’s hoped they will also start breeding.

A third bird will arrive in February.

View the full Rotorua Daily Post article here.