For the first time in 130 years, the call of kiwis in the wild is being heard near Dunedin, at the Orokonui Ecosanctuary.
Two of the six Haast tokoeka kiwis moved to the ecosanctuary last year from creche islands in lakes Manapouri and Te Anau have been occasionally heard calling to establish territories. Staff believe they are seeking partners.
The ecosanctuary was celebrating, because it was a sign the juvenile kiwis were maturing and starting their breeding cycle, ecosanctuary conservation manager Elton Smith said.
Ecosanctuary marketing manager Ryan Craig said the ecosanctuary was launching two-hour evening tours on May 22 to enable people to look and listen for kiwis calling through the upper grassland area near the visitor centre, where one or two of the females were establishing territory.
"Once the sun dips below the horizon, if you tread softly, are quiet and you are very lucky, you might just hear or see a sign of a rare Haast tokoeka kiwi."