First kiwi chicks born in Wellington wild in 150 years

Kiwi chicks have been born in the wild in Wellington for the first time in 150 years.

The birds hatched just one week ago with The Capital Kiwi Project crediting their predator control plan for making it all possible.

The plan has seen 4600 stoat traps set up across 24,000 hectares of land - the size of the Abel Tasman National Park - in the hills southwest of Wellington city.

With predators controlled to acceptable levels they were able to release 11 North Island brown kiwi into the wild in 2022, with 50 more released in May this year.

Project founder Paul Ward said the first kiwi chicks hatched from a pair of eggs around one week ago.

"This is a massive milestone for our goal of building a wild population of kiwi on Wellington's back doorstep."

Ward said only one third of the adult kiwi released into the project area were monitored so it is possible there are more kiwi chicks across the project landscape.

He said this success has reinforced Wellington as a suitable habitat for kiwi.

"These chicks now need to fend for themselves in the wild, the coming months are vitally important as they grow and put on weight to the point that they can fend off stoats with their big claws."

Two-hundred more kiwi are set to be released into the wild later this year with The Capital Kiwi Project hoping to drastically grow the population over the coming years.