Thanks to the support of Crombie Lockwood, we are one step closer to reversing the decline of the national kiwi population.
The Crombie Lockwood Kiwi Burrow is a specialist kiwi incubation, hatching, and brooding facility located in Wairakei, just out of Taupō. Made possible by the support of insurance brokers Crombie Lockwood and Wairakei Golf + Sanctuary, the facility is a key tool that will help Save the Kiwi achieve our Kōhanga Kiwi goals.
Most of the facility’s focus is on the Western North Island brown kiwi. Eggs are collected from the Western region and transported to the Crombie Lockwood Kiwi Burrow where they’re incubated, hatched, and cared for until they reach around three weeks old and can feed themselves. The centre can cater for around 100 eggs a year.
From there, most birds are released into the predator-free kōhanga site for the Western region, Sanctuary Mountain Maungatautari, where they’ll live the rest of their days without fear of predators. Eventually, offspring from this founder population will be translocated back into the wild.
Inside the Crombie Lockwood Kiwi Burrow
Designed by leading kiwi incubation specialist Claire Travers, the Crombie Lockwood Kiwi Burrow was officially opened by Ngāti Tūwharetoa in December 2019. The centre incubates and hatches eggs that have been collected from the Taranaki and Whanganui regions. Once the chicks can feed independently, at around 21 days old, most birds are relocated to build a founder population at Sanctuary Mountain Maungatautari (a handful are released into the Wairakei Golf + Sanctuary crèche).
The Burrow’s husbandry team looks after the eggs and chicks that come through the facility like they’re their own babies. The team carries out intensive incubation, hatching, brooding, husbandry, and reporting practices to ensure their charges are happy and healthy during their time at the Burrow and are as equipped as possible to fend for themselves when they’re released into the kōhanga site at Sanctuary Mountain Maungatautari.
The Crombie Lockwood Kiwi Burrow is instrumental in helping our Kōhanga Kiwi strategy achieve its goals. In fact, the Burrow will allow us to do in 5-10 years what would have taken 50 years or more otherwise.
The brooder wing
In September 2020, capacity at The Crombie Lockwood Kiwi Burrow was given a boost with the installation of the “brooder wing”, a specially modified 40-foot container that is fully kitted out with everything that’s necessary for the brooding of kiwi chicks. This expansion means the facility now has capacity to manage 100-120 kiwi.
When it’s not a home to freshly hatched chicks, the brooder wing can be used for other solutions like an ICU for injured kiwi, and a quarantine for chicks found in the wild.
Crombie Lockwood’s support
Without the support of naming sponsor Crombie Lockwood, this facility wouldn’t exist. Crombie Lockwood CEO, Carl O’Shea, is excited to partner with an organisation working to safeguard such an iconic species.
“Crombie Lockwood is all about helping New Zealanders protect the things that are important to them, and this partnership allows us to do this with a treasured national asset, on behalf of New Zealanders. It is a real privilege to be able to support the work of Save the Kiwi.
“Throughout our 40 years of business, we’ve kept the kiwi values we were founded on close to heart, and we recognise how important conservation is to the country and the very real need to preserve our unique biodiversity. Every day we promise our clients that we will do the right thing by them and do our best to ensure their survival, and we are dedicated to extending this commitment to Save the Kiwi.”
Wairakei Golf + Sanctuary owner, Gary Lane, is a long-term supporter of Save the Kiwi. He provided a site for the Crombie Lockwood Kiwi Burrow within his predator-proof sanctuary and contributed to the build of the facility. The team at the Golf + Sanctuary continues to support the work done at the Burrow and show a keen interest in progress of the kiwi chicks.
Non-profit KiwiSaver provider Simplicity funded the facility’s fit-out, including the incubators, brooder boxes, and all the supporting equipment required from electronic scales to bowls for feeding the chicks.
Simplicity’s managing director Sam Stubbs is happy to support an initiative that turns their KiwiSaver focus on its head to literally save the kiwi.
“We’re delighted to have helped with this important initiative to preserve our national bird. Simplicity is hard-wired to help, and our members have signalled our unique kiwi environment as a top priority for our charitable funding.
“As a fledgling ourselves, we take particular pride in being able to help with the incubation and nurturing of the chicks. And like any expectant parent, we can’t wait for the births!”
The latest news from the Crombie Lockwood Kiwi Burrow
After a busy couple of months, the 50th egg of the 2021/22 season has hatched at the Crombie Lockwood Kiwi Burrow. Meet Mn.Irr7 (affectionately known as ‘Rum’ because it rolls off the tongue a bit easier). This wee chick arrived at the Crombie Lockwood Kiwi Burrow as...
What do you get when you cross 10 people, seven kiwi, and hundreds of kilometres of travel between the National Kiwi Hatchery and Pukaha Mt Bruce via the Crombie Lockwood Kiwi Burrow? A prime example of the collaborative magic that can happen in kiwi conservation –...
Final chick of the season flies the coop If you’d asked the Crombie Lockwood Kiwi Burrow team at the beginning of the 2020/2021 kiwi hatching season how they thought it was going to go, they probably would have shrugged their shoulders. The dedicated incubation,...
We’re all in this together. Save the Kiwi works to raise awareness about the plight of the kiwi and what is being done to help via social media, regular newsletters, and media publicity.
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