Kiwi conservation gets boost with NZ's biggest hatchery celebrating historic season

Kiwi conservation has been boosted with New Zealand's largest kiwi hatchery celebrating a historic hatching season.

Children get a glimpse of a kiwi at Rainbow Springs' Kiwi Encounter. Source: Rainbow Springs' Kiwi Encounter.

Rainbow Springs Kiwi Encounter in Rotorua had a 98.4% hatching success rate, its best season in almost two decades.

They hatched 124 chicks during the season from 126 eggs – a rate almost four per cent higher than its average over the last decade.

"I'm excited to say we've had an exceptional year here – the only time we've had a better hatch rate than this is when we hatched 17 chicks out of 17 eggs in 2000-2001 season when things weren't quite on the grand scale as they are today," Husbandry Manager, Emma Bean, says.

The season's results are good news for the initiative to reverse the decline of the North Island Brown Kiwi population though Ms Bean warned the hard work needed to continue.

"Our wild kiwi populations are still declining every year – and if we don't continue to work as hard as we are, we are in danger of losing our national bird," she said.