After a quiet New Years Eve with Robin, Jenny, Pam and Don, (must be showing our age) it was decided as the rain we have been enduring over the past 2 days had finally eased we would make a trip up to Pukaha, Mt Bruce. Pukaha is the National Wildlife Centre where endangered native New Zealand bird species are hopefully being bought back from near extinction.
The main attraction is actually 2 rare white Kiwi’s which have been born at the centre. The first was hatched in May and the second was just fifteen days ago. Being white they wouldn’t stand a chance in the wild as they have no camouflage. Eggs laid in the bush are bought into the centre where they are hatched in incubators and raised by hand until they are big enough to be released.
Thirty Kiwi’s were caught on Little Barrier island which is a predator free Island. They were bought back to Mt Bruce and released into the reserve to increase the numbers of birds in the breeding programme. With 2 white birds hatched so close together the rangers feel that one of the introduced males is responsible as reports of a white Kiwi back on Little Barrier had been noted.
Besides the Kiwi’s are endangered Stitchbird (Hihi), Kaka, and Tuatara which is a prehistoric ancient creature found only on predator free islands run by the Deptartment of Conservation. Another flightless bird which is on the critical list is the Takahe which was thought to be extinct until they were rediscovered in 1948. With less than 250 birds they are high on the conservation list. The parrot like Kokako is listed as vulnerable so steps are already in place to help the beautiful birds.
After a very enjoyable visit the guys headed off to Middleton Railway and Cwmglyn cheese factory while the girls headed back to camp. The railway is a very large “00” gauge layout the pride and joy of Colin Fraser-Davies. Based on British outline depicting era’s of steam, diesel and electric it is open to the public while his wife operates a cottage cheese factory from half a dozen Jersey cows. We all tried the cheese and Robin and I bought some for Dot and Jenny to try.