Kiwi – national symbol of New Zealand
Kiwi is a national symbol and icon of New Zealand. The name of the bird – Kiwi comes from the language of Maori (indigenous NZ people). It means “hidden bird”. The association between Kiwis and NZ is so strong that often the word Kiwi is used to refer to the people of New Zealand. Kiwi appeared as a symbol for the first time in the middle of the 19 century when it is pictured on New Zealand regimental badges. During the First World War “Kiwi” was used as a byword for New Zealand soldiers. Nowadays the use of the word has spread, so that it includes all New Zealanders. Therefore for all the people who want to work, live and travel to New Zealand it will be interesting to read some information about these fascinating birds.
Kiwis are one of the most ancient and unique birds in the world. Their natural habitat is the forests and jungles of New Zealand. Kiwi is the only bird, which does not have a tail. Furthermore during its evolution it lost its wings and thus the ability to fly. In comparison with other birds, it has a very acute sense of smell, but not so well developed vision. Kiwis are omnivorous and like to eat both small animals and plants. Another interesting fact is that among all birds Kiwis lay the largest eggs in relation to their own body size. The Kiwi’s egg can weigh up to 450 gr. (16 oz), which is almost one fifth of the average weight of an adult female Kiwi bird.
Most of the Kiwi subspecies are currently endangered. It is now believed that only 200 birds are left in the wild. There are many Kiwi conservation projects that are currently being run. The largest one is managed by the Bank of New Zealand. There are five Kiwi sanctuaries currently created. Two of them are in the South Island and three are in the North Island. Furthermore New Zealand has introduced a strict system of pest management as a result of which the survival rate for Kiwis has greatly increased.