Kiwi conservationists ask public for help to expand Kahu Conservation Centre

Most of us have lived with other people but what about with native raptors or birds of prey? 

It is the norm for one Kiwi couple in Auckland who have launched their own rehab centre for them. However, the centre is already at capacity and needs some help to expand.

At a property in Auckland's Kumeū, people notice a theme - the house and the Kiwi couple's flatmate are both tiny.

"We have a little ruru, or morepork as other people know them. He is a very young, and very delicate, little baby owl," Kahu Conservation co-founder Chris Brook told Newshub.

Before Tane the morepork came to Brook's care, his future was uncertain.

"He's back on track now, putting weight on, and we're really proud of the way he's going," Brook said.

Tane is even living in the house.

"He keeps us up at night - you know, they're nocturnal," Brook said.

Brook's fixation with birds first began in Papua New Guinea where he grew up in the rainforest.  

"I've worked with them for 20-plus years - both professionally, and not professionally. I saw, and still see a need, for these birds to be protected," he told Newshub.

In 2021 with a permit from the Department of Conservation, Brook and his partner Rose Grosse were able to set up the rehab centre.

The rehab centre specialises in the care of injured native raptors like a harrier hawk called Nemo. 

"In winter he went through a respiratory disease. It's very uncommon for raptors to get through something like that. Most of the birds that've come through the centre have been returned to the wild," Grosse told Newshub.

Some have a brief stay while others can be there for up to a year.

 "We could take in more, but we don't have the space for them," Brook said.

The couple can not take in any more raptors because the facility is self-funded.

Brook and Grosse have already put everything they have into it and are now calling on the community to help it grow. 

 "We've set up a Givealittle page to donate bits of materials for building, which is sort of what we need the most," Brook said.

In the long run, they're hoping to educate children on what the birds have to offer.

 "Growing up as a Kiwi I never really interacted much with rurus. I think it's nice to be able to introduce that young to kids so they know what they're protecting," Grosse said.

Helping birds like little Tane reach their full potential.