Tuesday, May 26, 2015

Our Kiwi Taonga

Last week our local kiwi expert Todd Hamilton visited us at Manaia. Unfortunately a male kiwi had been hit by a car and was dead. Todd respectfully talked to the children about our beautiful taonga. The children have a great ongoing interest in birds, especially kiwi, so this was a unique learning experience where our tamariki were able to respectfully touch the kiwi and look at different features of it that they would not have been able to had it been alive. Todd told us that years ago there was so much food around that kiwi's lived on the ground, as they didn't need to fly. Then when humans came they brought mammals such as stoats, which love to eat kiwi. Dogs also like our kiwi, as they are small like a little dog. Because kiwi don't fly they don't have a lot of muscles and so get easily hurt when a dog grabs them.We learnt that male kiwi are smaller than females. We were able to see and touch the kiwi's large feet which he uses to scratch and fight with. We saw the kiwi's small wing and the tiny hook, which scientists are unsure what it is for. We found out that kiwi are the only bird in the world without a tail and the only bird you will see whiskers on, (feathers which have evolved). Todd showed us the tiny hole at the end of his bill that the kiwi uses for sniffing and we found out kiwi's have an amazing sense of smell. Most birds can't smell, but kiwi has the best sense of any bird in the whole world. Also we got to see the kiwi's ears, which you also don't see on many birds. Kiwi also have feathers to keep themselves warm and to camouflage in the bush. Todd told us that to begin with there were 80 kiwi in this area and now after all the trapping and hard work from organisations like Backyard Kiwi there are now 500 kiwi. We are so fortunate to have such an amazing bird in our backyard.

Todd telling us all about Kiwi. This is the seventh kiwi killed trying to cross Whangarei Heads road at the Nook.

The tiny hook on the kiwi's wing.

Examining the kiwi's big feet.

Curiosity and interest as we discover.

Eva picked up a few feathers which Todd said we could keep. The following day Eva created the design for the top of the  feather box.

Our special taonga, the manu feathers have a beautifully designed box
Our taonga.


Treehouse Dwellers said...

Our Kiwi taonga - Todd! What a treasure of a visitor to have at Manaia Kindergarten. Todd has released lots of kiwi into our community. It is so wonderful to hear that you are all learning about our national and community treasure and ways we can protect it. Have you been to a kiwi release? Look out for one near you - what a very special experience for you all.

Jennings said...

Great Blog, Keep up the good work.
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