This month, a couple travelling to New Zealand embarked on a new and unique travel experience to help rangers collect and re-release some of New Zealand’s most famous and rarest residents – the kiwi bird.
The new travel opportunity was arranged by UK-based travel experts at New Zealand In Depth in conjunction with their partners in Auckland IDNZ and will be first experienced by a tourist this season as the kiwi chicks emerge.
Alongside a Department of Conservation (DOC) ranger, the new and exclusive travel experience will see Jonathan and Marieke Greenwood depart with Auckland Seaplanes, first flying to Rotoroa Island to collect a number of kiwi and then fly on to Motutapu to release them.
The flight takes them over to Rotoroa Island enjoying the mesmerizing views of the Hauraki Gulf from downtown Auckland via Rangitoto Volcano, the youngest of 50 in the area. With a view inside a volcanic crater before continuing past the coast of Waiheke to Rotoroa Island.
Marieke Greenwood said; “When we first heard that this might be possible, we couldn’t believe it. Many New Zealanders have never seen a kiwi in the wild, so to get up close and help the Department of Conservation with the project is both a real honor, and very exciting.”
The relocation project is a joint project carried out by Auckland Seaplanes, Auckland Zoo, Rotoroa Island and the Department of Conservation to protect the native species of kiwi by relocating birds throughout the breading season from January to March.
The kiwis relocated on this adventure were originally released on Rotoroa Island Sanctuary a few years ago when they were just 450 grams in weight and they have now grown to 1.6/2.5 kg and are able to fend for themselves. To diversify the gene-pool they are now being flown in style to their new home, where after a Maori blessing, they are released into the wild.
“New Zealand is a magical place to travel and we pride ourselves in finding and delivering truly bespoke and individual experiences,” added Paul Carberry, founder of New Zealand In Depth. “This is one example where our team on the ground were able to work miracles to allow the Greenwood’s to embark on this magical adventure.”
It is hoped that this trip will be the first of many in support of the kiwi relocation program through the New Zealand In Depth’s travel team as they work closely with Auckland Seaplanes and the DOC to continue its support of the program.
Paul Carberry, founder of New Zealand In Depth, added: “This new experience joins a number of other activities across the country which bring together luxury travel and conservation, something we are proud to specialize in. Whether staying off grid in an all glass Purepod or supporting the control of non-native species at Okarito – there are plenty of incredible opportunities to support and get involved with New Zealand conservation.”
New Zealand In Depth also supports, with regular donations, Eco Farewell Spit, Okarito Nurseries, WJet and its stoat trapping program and Kaikoura Wildlife Centre.