Takahe chick with a ’kick’

The Te Anau Bird Sanctuary's youngest takahe resident, Timata, can be identifed by its darker beak. PHOTO: Claire Kaplan

The Te Anau Bird Sanctuary's latest takahe chick was named at a children's picnic last weekend.

Since November resident takahe couple Tumbles and Kawa have been raising the chick as a foster, whose new name — Timata — was announced over the weekend. 

The name was submitted by Te Anau resident Mihoko Kameyama, who said she picked the name because she often saw the chick kicking at its foster parents asking for more food. 

Timata means 'to kick' or 'to start' in Maori and she hoped this chick would be the kickoff for another takahe boosting future generations.

The submission was part of a locally run naming competition that received nearly 150 submissions. 

Timata's gender is yet to be determined, but local ranger Phil Marsh said at the naming picnic he was guessing the chick would be a male due to its weight. 

When Timata is a bit older it will head to the Burwood Takahe Centre to learn how to feed on tussock and potentially be part of the Takahe Recovery Programme's breeding programme at either a sanctuary or a wild site. 

The roughly 50 people in attendance also got to watch Tumbles, Kawa and young Timata get their health checks. A small ropu from Oraka Aparima Kapa Haka sang several waiata to celebrate Timata's new name, and afterwards more than 20 kids got the chance to paint wooden takahe and other birds. 

The Takahe Recovery Programme has been celebrating several successes over the past year. The total population of the bird, which was once thought to be extinct, has now increased to almost 350 individuals. 

Last month the Department of Conservation released 18 takahe in Kahurangi National Park in an historic attempt to create a new wild population outside of Fiordland.


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