With only 400 left in the wild, Haast tokoeka have the unfortunate title of being the world's rarest kiwi. Follow Almer, this breeding season's smallest and sassiest chick, as he goes through his first year of life in a ground-breaking conservation programme, 'Operation Nest Egg.' Watch as he grows from a tiny ball of ginger fluff to a 2kg predator fighting machine, and witness the dedication of the people working hard to give him a chance at life.
Growing up in New Zealand, I've always enjoyed spending as much time outdoors and in nature as possible. This led me the University of Otago, where I gained a degree in Zoology and Master's in Science Communication Natural History Filmmaking. 'Growing Up Kiwi' is my first documentary film, and I hope to continue telling stories about New Zealand's incredible taonga species.
I created this film kind of out of chance. I originally planned to document the conservation work of Rowi kiwi, a small greyish bird dotted with little white freckles. I found them adorable, and was fascinated that the population was beginning to go blind as a result of their night time foraging. However, the lead conservation ranger had a different idea. She asked me if I’d considered filming Haast tokoeka kiwi instead. I hadn’t, with the sole reason being that I had never even heard of them. Turns out not many people have, as these fiery kiwi with their bright ginger plumage prefer a mountain life as far away from humans as they can get. But with only 400 of them left, they need our help. So when I was given the opportunity to head out with the tokoeka team, I jumped at it. This led to two years of following a sassy little kiwi chick called Almer through an intensive conservation programme called ‘Operation Nest Egg’, where he was temporarily removed from the wild and reared in captivity to protect him from introduced predators. My hope is that this documentary can help shine some light on this incredible species, because I truly believe they need to be known.
AniFab judge's aggregate score for Growing Up Kiwi is 7.9 out of 10 with one judge writing, "Completely enjoyed Maddy Brennan's Growing Up Kiwi. It is so common today to see the level on which people must get to to be able to understand what other people have done to impact the world around them. Much human trial and error ends up in decades if not permanent situations detrimental if not catastrophic to the natural world around us.
2021 Monthly Official Best Of Selections
Animalis Fabula Film Festival official monthly selections have the opportunity to compete for monthly attention as well as inclusion in the annual live / virtual film festival in Austin, Texas and end of year fundraising benefit for animal welfare.