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School pupils to welcome kiwi

Northland brown kiwi (DoC)-978The participation of Mangawhai Beach Primary School in welcoming Marunui Conservation’s next batch of kiwi has been greeted enthusiastically by teachers and pupils.

There have been two public releases to date at Marunui, one in 2013 and one last year when 22 more birds were released in the Brynderwyns. Some pupils were involved in the first release in 2013, singing waiata for the guest speakers and choosing the names Speckle and Aroha for two of the 14 kiwi.

“This year we will not be holding a public event at Marunui but rather have offered all the children at the school the chance to have a kiwi experience,” says Catherine Hawley. “We sat down with deputy principal Paula Bygrave to discuss how this could be organised and together have worked out a plan.”

All being well several kiwi will be caught on Motuora Island on the night of April 20 and carried by boat to Sandspit on the morning of Tuesday April 21. They will be transferred to a Department of Conservation vehicle and driven up to Mangawhai to the school where they are expected to arrive around 11.15 am.

If the weather is fine a special assembly will be held outside on the courts with the children grouped in rows to enable kiwi handlers to carry the birds past them. If the weather is poor, the alternative venue is the adjacent Recreation Centre. Parents are able to attend and members of the public may also be present.

The kiwi will be welcomed by the school’s kaumatua and by the children singing a waiata. At the conclusion, the birds will be returned to their boxes and taken to Marunui for release in the bush.

Paula Bygrave says the school is thrilled that its eight house leaders have been invited to accompany the kiwi there and that the school can name two more birds.

“The teachers are excited that the school is playing a part in the release as is the Board Chair Dave Glover. We look forward to being involved and developing community awareness, through our children, of this precious resource in our local area.”

Catherine Hawley says few people have the opportunity to see kiwi so it’s wonderful that Marunui can share the occasion in this way.

“We value having a relationship with the school and the children experiencing and learning about kiwi.”

n If the weather is bad and kiwi are not caught, the date could move to Wednesday April 22 or Thursday April 23. The school will be kept informed.

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