A Kiwi Crèche - Rona Island Since December 2008, over 30 Haast Tokoeka chicks have been placed on Rona Island by the Department of Conservation. The island joined a number of islands on Lake Te Anau that were already being used as kiwi crèche sites. As part of BNZ Operation Nest Egg, eggs and chicks are removed from the kiwi sanctuary at Haast to Willowbank in Christchurch. There the chicks are cared for until they reach a certain weight, when they are transferred to Rona Island. The kiwi remain on Rona until they weigh over 1.2kg (approx. one year) and are big enough to fend off potential predators for themselves. Once they reach this safe weight they are transferred back to the sanctuary at Haast or to an alternative safe location. For example, since December 2009 13 juvenile birds have been transferred from Rona to Coal Island in Preservation Inlet to start a new Haast kiwi population there. In October 2010 six Haast kiwi from Rona were taken to the Orokonui Ecosanctuary in Dunedin - this was the first time kiwi had been seen in the wild in Dunedin for 130 years.
The Trust helps DOC staff to monitor the chicks, with two Trustees now trained as approved kiwi handlers.
A Kiwi Population - Pomona Island The first seven kiwi were released on Pomona in October 2011. Currently there are fifteen adult kiwi on Pomona. More on the initial release here.