Our Story

As the efforts of Kiwis to save kiwi have grown, so too has the need to incubate kiwi eggs. In 2017 we ran out of capacity at the facilities across the North Island. And so, in 2018, with the injection of a converted shipping container we expanded the capacity at the National Kiwi Hatchery in Rotorua. But it wasn’t enough.

The ambitious programme that Kiwis for kiwi have initiated to reverse the decline in our kiwi populations required more capacity…much, much more. Consequently, plans were formulated to build a new incubation, hatching and brooding facility. A facility that would be:

  • State-of-the-art incorporating best practice design principles and systems
  • Located in the central North Island to service both eastern and western kiwi populations
  • Capable of processing 200+ eggs per season once fully operational

With the clock counting down to the 2019 breeding season a miracle was needed to transform our concept to reality.

And then along came Crombie Lockwood! Carl O’Shea and the team at Crombie Lockwood have a long-standing commitment to New Zealand’s fauna and flora. And they leapt at the chance to fund this critical component in our kiwi restoration work. Our plans have become a reality – The Crombie Lockwood Kiwi Burrow has hatched.

What is a burrow?

Kiwi live in burrows – small, dark spaces where they can avoid daylight and the extremes of our weather. Typically, they look for somewhere that is going to be cool in summer and warm in winter. Unlike most birds that build a nest, a kiwi’s burrow is similar to that of a badger.


One of the interesting things about kiwi is that they sleep standing up.

Why We Need the Crombie Lockwood Kiwi Burrow

In order to reverse the decline in kiwi populations we need, in simple terms, to grow the population quicker than invasive predators (rats, stoats, ferrets, possums, etc) can kill kiwi. To do this Kiwis for kiwi have designed a strategy that involves us lifting eggs from wild kiwi, incubating them and hatching the chicks, and then releasing those chicks into kōhanga* sites.

The challenge is that this programme calls on us to incubate hundreds more kiwi eggs over the coming year. Our only practical way forward was to build a new facility.

* A kōhanga is a safe environment, like a nursery of sorts. In this case it is an island or fenced sanctuary where we will build a population of kiwi. Incredibly the population within the kōhanga site will grow at approximately 20% per annum once the chicks reach breeding age (3-4 years).