Welcome Manu: A Kiwi For The UK

After a long hibernation, this blog has exciting news on the kiwi front.

You may remember that a few years ago I wrote from the Midlands about a conversation I had with a contact at Dudley Zoo about the possibility of them housing a kiwi.

The response was: “I’ve had a word with one of our curators and apparently we have had them in the past but they are very difficult to acquire”.

For a while, my hopes of having my national mascot in the UK seemed dashed.

But today I was alerted to news that a zoo in Devon – Paignton Zoo – has managed to acquire a kiwi.


Manu (pic right from Paignton Zoo) is described as a five-month-old “shy, nocturnal mini-ostrich from the other side of the world”.

The zoo proudly says he is the only kiwi in the UK and one of only a handful in Europe.

He is a brown kiwi (an endangered species) and comes from Frankfurt Zoo in Germany.

Fellow New Zealanders of my vintage may remember that Manu was one of the characters in the children’s television show Play School – a little Maori doll.

I feel very excited about the new kiwi and love the idea that my country’s feathered mascot will be living just hours away.

It’s like having a piece of New Zealand here in the UK.

Speaking of Manu, the zoo’s curator of birds Jo Gregson added: “Kiwis need special care and attention. Each one is an individual.”

I couldn’t have put it better myself.