Queenstown Kiwi takes flight

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A male kiwi who’s lived the past 12 years at Queenstown’s Kiwi Birdlife Park leaves tomorrow (Wednesday) for a North Island sanctuary. 

Park annual pass holders have been invited to farewell Nyoni, 13, who’ll be taken out of his burrow into a transfer box about 11am. Nyoni’s flight leaves at 1pm.
 
Nyoni will fly to Palmerston North and be picked up by Department of Conservation staff from nearby Mt Bruce sanctuary, which he’ll be released into. 

Assistant park manager Nicole Kunzmann says they normally only look after adult kiwi for five or six years before releasing them into sanctuaries. 

“The reason we’ve had Nyoni for so long is because the sanctuaries that kiwi are released into are managed in terms of their genetic make-up. 

“Turns out Nyoni has heaps of relatives out there so we don’t want to pop him into an area that has loads of his relatives so it’s taken a bit longer to find somewhere for him to go.” 

Once Nyoni leaves, the park will still have two pairs of kiwi. 

One pair are only a year old and the other pair were the parents of Tuku, who was released into another North Island sanctuary a few years ago.