Otorohanga Kiwi House and Native Bird Park – the latest (and best) Kiwi viewing experience in New Zealand

Conservation
Tuesday, April 12, 2016

The ‘Kiwi Night Zone’ is the newest Kiwi-viewing attraction at the Otorohanga Kiwi House and Native Bird Park. The deceptively simple wooden building is nestled into beautifully landscaped native plantings and is the only place in New Zealand where rare and endangered Great Spotted Kiwi and Little Spotted Kiwi can be viewed, side by side, in naturalistic nocturnal enclosures.

‘Kiwi Night Zone’ – south entrance

 

Kiwi Night Zone – north entrance

 

Featuring state-of-the-art LED lighting to simulate a moonlit Kiwi habitat, the ‘Kiwi Night Zone’ has twin enclosures that are superbly planted and have the latest in climate control and monitoring equipment to provide ideal living conditions for the two very special Kiwi inhabitants, Tasman (Great Spotted Kiwi) and her neighbour Kapiti (little Spotted Kiwi).

Tasman (Great Spotted Kiwi)

Tasman and Kapiti also have access to purpose-built Kiwi burrows equipped with high resolution infra-red cameras. These provide live video feeds whenever the birds take some time out in their burrows.

The construction of the ‘Kiwi Night Zone’ was a real exercise in Kiwi ingenuity & experimental planning. Every speck of soil barrowed into the enclosures (over 72 cubic metres) was hand-sieved by local volunteers and then checked with a metal detector to ensure that no stray metal objects were present. (Kiwi probe the soil continually and are famed for ingesting stray metallic objects with obvious health risks). The interior of the ‘Kiwi Night Zone’ has specially designed LED lighting, sound, data and environmental monitoring systems and is sound-proofed to avoid disturbing the star attractions, Tasman and Kapiti.

Outside, a boggy building site and wasteland has been transformed into a native forest microcosm typical of the local area. There are restful winding paths and the building is fully wheelchair accessible.

The Otorohanga Kiwi House is immensely proud of its latest visitor attraction. The leading edge technology incorporated into the build will also provide opportunities for important scientific research in conjunction with Waikato University.

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