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New kiwis given a right royal treatment

DELWYN DICKEY
Last updated 05:00 15/04/2014
PM John Key with kiwi
BOY GEORGE: Named for the royal baby, PM John Key holds one of the eight northland brown kiwi released at Glorit.

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"John Keywee" was Prime Minister John Key's idea for one of eight kiwi released near Glorit in western Rodney last Friday.

But after mixing with royalty earlier in the week he decided to call it "George" instead, in recognition of baby Prince George.

The PM was among about 500 people, including school children, who welcomed the kiwi to Mataia farm on the edge of the Kaipara Harbour.

The privately owned 1300ha farm has been cleared of pests by owners Gill and Kevin Adshead and volunteers. Thirteen brown kiwi have already been released on to the farm and begun to breed - one of the first private working farms in New Zealand to do this.

The kiwi come from eggs gathered around Whangarei, hatched at Auckland Zoo then transferred to "creche" island Motuora off Rodney's east coast. The birds stay on the island until they are a year old and able to fend off predators. They are then returned to the wild.

While the PM was cradling "Boy George" the kiwi appeared to fall asleep.

"You can tell I'm a politician," Key quipped. "I can put kiwis to sleep and I haven't even started to talk about economic policy yet."

He visited Warkworth the same afternoon.

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- Rodney Times

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