Bloomfield’s namesake arrives just in time for Save Kiwi Month

Newly hatched kiwi chick Bloom has a rare white patch and has arrived in time to celebrate the start of Save Kiwi Month.

The name was drawn at random on TVNZ’s Breakfast show this morning and is a tribute to Director-General of Health Dr Ashley Bloomfield.

Bloom hatched at Rotorua’s National Kiwi Hatchery on Tuesday 29 September, weighing in at 353 grams. Save Kiwi Month is held annually in October.

National Kiwi Hatchery Manager Tumu Kaitiaki Kiwi Emma Bean says: “It’s rare to have a kiwi with such a large white patch like this. The last significantly white feathered chick hatched in 2017. It is as if this unique and special chick timed their arrival perfectly for Save Kiwi Month”.

Save Kiwi Month is a Kiwis for kiwi initiative with the goal being to raise funds to help safeguard kiwi populations and ensure these taonga are here for generations to come.

The National Kiwi Hatchery reopened to manuhiri (visitors) late last month in time for the school holidays, with adjusted opening times and discounted entry. The Ngāi Tahu Tourism-owned hatchery had been closed to visitors since the nationwide COVID-19 lockdown. All money from hatchery tour ticket sales goes back to fund the hatchery’s work. So, by visiting and entertaining yourselves or your tamariki for a few hours, you are directly supporting its work to save kiwi.

Visitors to the hatchery may get a glimpse of Bloom on the daily 10.00am tour as the bird will have their daily weigh in and health check at that time.

The National Kiwi Hatchery is the largest kiwi hatchery in Aotearoa, having hatched more than 2,000 chicks since 1995. Team members are leaders in kiwi husbandry, egg incubation systems, hatching techniques and kiwi chick rearing, and you can learn all about this on a guided tour. Each year the team incubates and hatches more than 100 kiwi chicks with 125 hatched last year.

Only six of those chicks would have survived if they had been left in the wild. Last season 72% of all brown kiwi hatched ex-situ nationwide came from the hatchery.

Visitors to the National Kiwi Hatchery get a behind the scenes tour of operations – a unique experience from a team proud of the contribution they make to the kiwi recovery programme.

Not only can visitors view the hatchery programme, but they also learn about the operations at the kiwi hospital facility where sick and injured kiwi are brought in from the wild.
There are five tours per day and visitors can make bookings and find more information on the website:

The hatchery is located at the Rainbow Springs Nature Park complex, however only the hatchery is reopening. Rainbow Springs does not yet have a reopening date.

The National Kiwi Hatchery is also supported the Strategic Tourism Assets Protection Programme, the Department of Conservation’s Wildlife Institution Relief Fund and Kiwis for kiwi.