First kiwi of the season released as part of new accelerated breeding strategy on Motutapu Island

The first kiwi chick has been released for this season with hopes another 40-45 will soon be joining the young bird.

Waipahu, a 23-day-old Coromandel brown kiwi, was released onto Motutapu Island today as part of a new strategy to accelerate breeding in a bid to boost numbers.

Kiwis for kiwis, an independent charity aiming to protect kiwi and their natural habitat, are running the strategy and executive director Michelle Impey says the pest and predator-free island in Auckland's Hauraki Gulf was capable of holding 300 pairs of kiwi once revegetation is complete.

"We are planning on transferring around 200 kiwi to the island over the next five years, where they will become a permanent breeding population," Ms Impey said.

"In the future, their offspring will be removed and released to the wild to create new populations or to bolster existing ones."

Waipahu is the 62nd kiwi released to Motutapu Island.

The chick, which came from the Thames Coast Kiwi Care Group in Coromandel and was incubated at the Auckland Zoo, will now enjoy the safety of the protected Gulf Island.

Waipahu the Coromandel brown kiwi prior to release.
Waipahu the Coromandel brown kiwi prior to release. Source: Supplied