A kiwi chick hatched at Zoo Miami in the United States has been named after Te Korowai o Wainuiārua negotiator Paora ‘Baldy’ Haitana. The North Island kiwi was the first to be hatched in the zoo’s history and in Florida. Zoo Miami offered naming rights to New Zealand Ambassador Rosemary Banks, who was chief Crown negotiator in Te Korowai o Wainuiārua Treaty settlement negotiations until taking up the ambassadorship in Washington, DC.
The New Zealand Embassy in Washington DC sought funding to support the attendance of Paora and Te Korowai o Wainuiārua lead negotiator Chris McKenzie at a blessing and naming ceremony hosted by Miami-Dade Zoological Park and Gardens in Miami Florida.
The name chosen for the kiwi is Paora, in honour, the New Zealand Embassy said, “of New Zealander, iwi leader, and conservationist Paora Haitana, whose work includes returning the endangered Whio (Blue Duck) to the Manganui o te Ao River”.
Here is an extract from a press release from Zoo Miami: On Monday, November 4th, Zoo Miami will welcome Her Excellency, Rosemary Banks, New Zealand Ambassador to the United States. She will be traveling from Washington, D.C., along with a special delegation from New Zealand to participate in an historic naming ceremony for the first kiwi ever to hatch in the state of Florida! Accompanying Ambassador Banks will be Mr. Chris McKenzie and Mr. Paora Haitana, both iwi leaders of the indigenous Maori people, who will be traveling from New Zealand to perform the official naming ceremony, as well as Nancy Gilbert, New Zealand Honorary Consul to the State of Florida. The kiwi is being named “Paora,” in honor of the iwi leader who has dedicated himself to wildlife conservation in New Zealand.
This historic kiwi hatched on April 9th from a fertilized egg that was received on March 15th from the Smithsonian National Zoological Park where it was laid on January 29th. The egg was sent to Zoo Miami as part of a special loan agreement between the Smithsonian National Zoo in conjunction with the Government of New Zealand which is where kiwis are naturally found and where it is the unofficial symbol of the country and the nickname given to its citizens.
Jonathan Steffert, Public Affairs Officer at the New Zealand Embassy in Washington, D.C., said, “While once the greatest threat to New Zealand’s native wildlife was poaching and deforestation, it is now introduced predators.”
He went on to say that “Rats, possums and stoats kill 25 million of our native birds every year and, along with the rest of our environment; we must do more to protect them.”
In 2015, the New Zealand Government recognized a growing momentum and public appetite for more action to protect native biodiversity. That July, then Prime Minister John Key announced the creation of “Predator Free 2050,” an ambitious goal to rid New Zealand of the devastating impacts of stoats, rats and possums by 2050.
“This is the most ambitious conservation project attempted anywhere in the world, but we believe that if we can all work together as a country, we can achieve it” said Mr. Steffert.