Owhango School student Liam Edhouse (age 11) shares what it was like to join Biodiversity Ranger Jenny Hayward on a mission to lift a kiwi egg.
Recently Siena McLean and I had the chance to go on a once in a lifetime opportunity with Jenny the DOC ranger to lift a kiwi egg as part of a project that DOC is doing with our school.
Once the morning came we were so excited, and ready about twenty minutes early! We headed off and ended up getting to the visitor centre in Tongariro National Park just in time (so it was very lucky we left early).
We met up with our ranger Jenny and then set off through Ohakune and right around to the other side of Mount Ruapehu.
We leaped out of the car with excitement and Jenny gave us a briefing. She told us stuff like being careful where we thud our feet, and to be as quiet as a mouse if we are lucky enough to have a photo with the little fluffy thing.
Jenny took us up to her base and told us about her work. It was a short stay though and before we knew it we were heading off.
We headed down a bushy track and we only had to walk about 200 metres before we got the kiwi tracker out. We got the strongest signal straight ahead. We kept going and then we came to an old track. It was a 300 metre walk up this track and then we needed to get the code to tell us what Rumbo (the kiwi we were lifting the eggs from) was doing.
Jenny gave the kiwi tracker to me to hold but it started to get too heavy so I gave it to Siena and after a while she gave up too. The tracker went right back round to Jenny. Finally after a long wait we got the code and walked up the hill and watched Jenny search for the eggs.
Mum told us this was the part that takes the longest. I believe her now because after a long but exciting 40 minute wait, Jenny found the right spot. Siena, Mum and I got so excited. All Jenny needed to do then was find the entrance which only took 5 minutes.
Jenny called us up and Siena and I were very excited at this point. I did not believe my eyes when Jenny pulled an egg out and gave it to Siena. I put my hands out and Jenny placed another very delicate egg in my hands. Jenny then stuck her hand into the burrow again to see if there was a third egg. There wasn’t one, so I gave her my egg because I didn’t want to drop it going down the hill.
Once we were down the bottom of the hill Jenny checked the air cells and then packed them into the chilly bin lined with heated stuff. We started heading back to the ute. We got to the clearing where our ute was in no time because we didn’t have to be quiet anymore
Once we got back to Mum’s car we started the drive to Rainbow Springs in Rotorua, where our egg was going to be incubated.
When we walked into the office the ladies there knew what we were there for and sent us to the right place. The lady who took us in was very nice. Before we went into the room we had to take our shoes off so we didn’t spread germs. We did not argue and took them off.
The staff at Rainbow Springs cleaned the egg for 30 seconds—if she had washed it for longer she could put the bird at risk. She also checked the air cells again to check there was no ‘travel damage’ which can happen when the air cell inside the egg moves. There was no travel damage in either of them and Mum was so happy because she did not cause any damage.
Once the necessary checks were all finished we watched from outside the room as the eggs got incubated.
Thanks to ranger Jenny Hayward for an exciting day!
What a super exciting experience.
Great story Liam, well done. You and Siena will remember your adventure for the rest of your lives. Great that your school is part of this conservation effort with kiwi.