ZEALANDIA Takahē Chick Named
The male five-month old takahē chick at ZEALANDIA, has been named.
The chick has been given the name Te Āwhiorangi which means ‘the encircler of heaven’. It references a sacred pounamu adze (cutting tool) that is said to be used by the atua (god) Tāne to cut the sinews that bound Ranginui (the sky father) and Papatūānuku (the earth mother).
The name has been agreed by ZEALANDIA, Taranaki Whānui te Upoko o te Ika and the Department of Conservation's Takahē Recovery Programme.
"This very special name reflects the chick’s whakapapa to ZEALANDIA —Te Māra a Tāne — and to Taranaki Whānui te Upoko o te Ika, the mana whenua for this region,” says Aaria Dobson-Waitere, Kaitiaki Ranger at ZEALANDIA. “Te Āwhiorangi will carry the mana of this name when it returns to Ngāi Tahu lands down south.”
“Takahē chicks are so vulnerable in their early days, and we are thrilled that Te Āwhiorangi has grown up healthy and well. We hope he makes an incredible contribution to the conservation of this taonga species with chicks of his own,” Aaria says.
Volunteers and staff spent many hours preparing and providing a special blend of food that helped takahē parents Nio and Orbell raise Te Āwhiorangi.
Te Āwhiorangi is shortly to be transferred to the Burwood Takahē Centre, Fiordland, to be fostered onto another pair of takahē as it continues to learn about how to thrive in the wild. Later in the year he will be released out at Te Puhi-a-Noa, more commonly known as the Murchison Mountains. Takahē Recovery make the decisions about where birds are transferred to as part of the national breeding programme.
“April is Takahē Awareness Month and as Te Āwhiorangi will only be at ZEALANDIA for a little while longer, we encourage visitors to come and see him soon,” Aaria says.
Photo Credit: Karen Rankin-Neal