A home away from home; kiwi at Queenstown’s Kiwi Birdlife Park will soon be packing into their brand new purpose-built abode, away from the hustle and bustle of neighbouring noises but still delighting visitors to the park.
Settling into their new pristine habitat hopefully in time for the breeding season -what better way to celebrate their new home.
Valuable players in the park conservation programme, the park’s three breeding pairs of North Island Brown kiwi currently live in two houses, just below the visitor centre, with the third pair in an outdoor breeding pen.
Kiwi chicks bred at the park are cared for until they reach 1kg in weight, usually between six months and one year old when they are released into the wilds of the North Island—big enough to fend for themselves.
Kiwi love peace and quiet and when it was realised that park neighbour, Skyline Queenstown had major construction plans in mind, a lengthy negotiation process was commenced with both parties committed to finding a successful solution.
The solution found was to build a new Kiwi house, providing a 165sqm usable kiwi area, locating it at the far end of the park, away from the noise and vibrations resulting from Skyline’s construction work.
Park manager Paul Kavanagh explains that both pairs of breeding kiwi will transfer into the new bigger building, with the third pair relocating to a new off display breeding area.
“Visitors will be able to walk through the new house and see kiwi on both sides of the house.
“Essentially we’re relocating all of our operations, so there will be a new food preparation area down there and an incubation room as well.
“There will also be a covered verandah area and visitor toilets.”
When it was first realised that a new home would have to be built for the kiwi, Paul and the park’s director, Paul Wilson, visited every kiwi house in the country looking at ways they could improve upon what they already had in terms of functionality, building design and habitat itself.
Exhibiting the kiwi in as natural a state as possible so that visitors can see them displaying natural foraging behaviour is one of the parks key objectives.
“In the existing Kiwi house you can see the kiwi up close, but because there is a solid glass barrier between the visitor and the kiwi habitat it’s a very one dimensional perspective—you only see them.
“The glass in the new kiwi house won’t go all the way to the ceiling. So we’re hoping it will be a more immersive visitor experience where you will see, smell and hear the kiwis.”
Rather than walking down a linear path inside the new house, visitors will zigzag their way through, observing kiwi on either side.
Lighting is another element that the park has taken into consideration, using LED Grow lamps to create a living environment with living plants and trees.
“We also want to move away from red lights in the visitor area.
They don’t give an accurate representation of nature. New kiwi house will be better all round Richard Loader
“ We want to replicate moonbeams so it shows the hue of the kiwi’s feathers.
Naylor Love commenced construction of the new build in February and Paul expects the project to be completed by mid-year.
Paul has been delighted with Naylor Love’s approach to the project and says the local trade community has been incredibly supportive, ITM in particular.
“A project like this would not be possible without the support of our local community. We’re hoping that the relocation of the kiwi house is going to enable a really well designed and developed kiwi house that enhances our animal welfare and proves a more immersive experience for our visitors.”
This article was brought to you in association with the following businesses…
- Skyline Queenstown
- Sheehan Apiaries Ltd
- Lothlorian Knitwear Limited