Takahe chick picnic in Te Anau

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Te Anau Bird Sanctuary's latest takahe chick, Timata. Photo: Julie Walls

PUNANGA Manu o Te Anau/Te Anau Bird Sanctuary celebrated the naming of its latest takahe chick, Timata, at the sanctuary last Saturday.

Te Anau takahe pair Tumbles and Kawa have done a great job of hatching the fertile egg and rearing the chick, who is now five months old.

The egg was fostered to the pair from the Burwood Takahe Centre.

“The name Timata was in reference to the takahe chick who was often kicking mum and dad’s legs asking for more food. Timata means ‘kicking off’ or ‘start’ in Maori. The Timata would be the kick off/start of another takahe, boosting generations,” Department of Conservation takahe ranger Phil Marsh said.

Sophie Neems (2), of Te Anau, paints a wooden takahe at the Takahe Chick Picnic. Several Fiordland children and visitors took part in the picnic, decorating masks and wooden takahe, to celebrate the naming of the new chick. Photo: Julie Walls

The takahe team also talked to the public about the Takahe Recovery Programme and gave the chick its health check. While the chick had its vaccination a few weeks ago, it was given a booster and weighed in at more than 300g. The team was unsure of its gender.

Tumbles and Kawa were also given health checks, which were usually undertaken once or twice a year.

The sanctuary currently has four adults and one juvenile.

Tumbles and Kawa raised last year’s “miracle” chick Ehara. She was now at Burwood Takahe Centre, awaiting transfer to Kahurangi National Park, Mr Marsh said.

In was in late November 1948 that Invercargill doctor Geoffrey Orbell identified a bird that had been presumed extinct for 50 years – the takahe.

The takahe-breeding unit at Burwood Bush, near Te Anau, now helps with the survival of the endangered bird.

The rare, flightless takahe are the stars of the Te Anau Bird Sanctuary.

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