No your eyes do not deceive you – this is Manukura – an amazing white kiwi! We had read about her before coming and had been really excited about our visit – and it was wonderful to see her! She is housed at the Pukaha Mount Bruce wildlife centre north of Masterton on the North island. It is run by the Department of Conservation (DOC) so is government funded and its main aim is taking care of NZ’s native birds and animals. It is such a fantastic place!
Manukura is the only white kiwi in the world to be born in captivity and is incredibly well cared for at the centre. She has two huge indoor enclosures all to herself! Also, the reason she looks pink in the photo above is because of the infrared lights used in the enclosures – which kiwis can’t see so it looks like complete darkness to them. I was also able to take the above photo without using a flash. We were the only people to visit her during that time, and she kept coming right up to the glass to eat lots of lovely worms. She even has her own Facebook page so it pretty famous!
We spent most of our time with Manukura but also walked the grounds and saw other brilliant rare and endangered birds. Our favourite was definitely the kokako – which is a very rare bird, but also a very friendly one! Apparently he is famous for his wolf-whistles if he likes you and he must have liked us because when we visited he kept on whistling. It was really funny! He kept moving constantly so was hard to photograph but I managed to get one. We also enjoyed seeing the baby tuatera they have there too.
Definitely one of our best expereinces in NZ – as we love kiwis so much and having seen lots of brown ones during our time here we feel complete now we have finally seen the amazing Manukura!