A Willowbank Kiwi Couple - Matakere (Matt) & Kenza
Matakere (Matt) and Kenza are Willowbank’s breeding pair of North Island Brown Kiwi. They live outside at Willowbank in a large enclosure. Matt is Willowbank's oldest kiwi and has had lots of babies. In zoos, animals are managed who has babies together to make sure that there is a genetically healthy population (we don’t want any 6 toed kiwi!). Matt recently had a new girlfriend sent to Willowbank to pair up with him for this reason. Her name is Kenza. She is much younger and has a strangely curved bill. Willowbank staff needs to watch her bill to make sure she eats properly. Willowbank kiwis are fed a special diet that replicates mushed up bugs. This can take some getting used to for a kiwi.
When Matt and Kenza have an egg it will be laid in a burrow in their enclosure. Matt will sit on the egg to keep it warm. Matt is a great dad, he once even saved an egg from flooding by piling leaves into his nest to raise the level above the water. After Matt has looked after the egg for a while we incubate it until it hatches and let Matt and Kenza lay another egg. All of Matt’s chicks have been looked after at Willowbank. Matt and Kenza’s chicks will be released back to the wild or paired up with other captive kiwi to create new pairs.