Day out for kakapo chicks

Kakapo chicks Lisa1 (left) and Rakiura2 will be joined by Heather1 at Arrowtown's Athenaeum Hall...
Kakapo chicks Lisa1 (left) and Rakiura2 will be joined by Heather1 at Arrowtown's Athenaeum Hall next Friday, for the Kakapo Chicks Day Out, organised by Real Journeys and the Department of Conservation Kakapo Recovery Team. Photo supplied.
Three kakapo chicks will be in Arrowtown next week, giving people a ''once in a lifetime'' chance to see them up close.

In a first for the region, Real Journeys and the Department of Conservation's Recovery Team have partnered for the Kakapo Chicks Day Out and will bring them to the Athenaeum Hall for a public viewing next Friday.

Admission will be by gold coin donation and proceeds will go to the Kakapo Recovery Programme.

Real Journeys chief executive Richard Lauder said the company had supported several native bird recovery programmes over the years and staff were actively involved with initiatives in Fiordland and on Stewart Island.

''Conservation really is in the DNA of our business, so it's nice to be able to do something with the Kakapo Recovery Programme.

''Everyone at Real Journeys is so excited to be involved in this collaboration. We put out a note to our staff asking for volunteers to help on the day and we've literally been inundated with responses,'' he said.

Fewer than 150 kakapo are left. The chicks bound for Arrowtown - ''Lisa1'', ''Rakiura2'' and ''Heather1'' are three of six hatched during the 2014 breeding season, and are being hand-reared in Invercargill.

The chicks had been named according to their nest mother and egg number - Lisa1 was Lisa's first egg and the only chick from a two-egg clutch; Rakiura2 was the second of Rakiura's three-egg clutch; and Heather1 was Heather's first egg of a three-egg clutch.

Doc Kakapo Recovery Team head Deidre Vercoe said the chicks would be flown to the resort, accompanied by their minders.

''We want people to see the kakapo chicks but also learn about what makes them so special and, of course, raise awareness to assist with their recovery.

''Kakapo welfare is at the heart of the event so all steps will be taken to ensure the chicks remain healthy and relaxed. ''Previous viewings of hand-reared kakapo have been a huge success, so while cancellation of the event is always a possibility, it is expected the chicks will take it all in their stride.''

The Kakapo Chicks Day Out, scheduled to run from 11.30am to 1pm, would include an audio visual presentation, question and answer sessions and viewing opportunities.

Local primary schools have been invited to a separate viewing before the public event.

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