Friday, February 14th
Happy Valentine’s day everyone! Our first stop was the National Kiwi Hatchery Aotearoa at Rainbow Springs. Our docent gave us a tour of the hatchery and explained about the endangered Kiwi. We toured their facility and saw how they care for the eggs and chicks until the chicks are ready for release into their natural habitat. We learned that a kiwi incubation period is around 78 days. Since 1995 they have hatched 2,042 Kiwi chicks. This season 119 chicks have hatched. No photos were allowed in the hatchery itself. We could photograph the introduction area and outside.
After our tour we left for the airport at Rotorua for our flight to Christchurch.
Christchurch is located on the South Island and up to now we were exploring the North Island. It is also the largest city on the South Island. We noticed upon arrival that the city is still dealing with the 2010 and 2011 earthquakes. They are still rebuilding and we saw a number of areas that are barren because of demolition of 80% of the buildings in the city center after the earthquakes.
This evening we visited Riccarton House. We toured the bush forest on the property.
After our bush walk with a naturalist we toured the homestead and had our dinner in their restaurant.
After dinner, we were entertained by a storyteller, Margaret Copland. She told us the story of early immigrants to the Canterbury area by portraying two different characters in her storytelling.