Published 1 March 1999 in Sanctuary news

School children name Wellington's newest residents

Wellington's latest residents, eight rare North Island weka, are no longer identified by just a code number on a tag, thanks to the creative imagination of local school children. Now they are known by a colourful blend of English and Maori names, each selected by the children of Wellington as part of a 'wonderful weka' education programme run by the Karori Sanctuary Trust.

"Weka are birds with strong characters and each has its own personality. We wanted to refer to them by name rather than an impersonal tag number," Karori Sanctuary marketing manager Steven Thompson said.

"We could think of no better people to name our weka than the children of Wellington who will have the opportunity to study the weka raising their young," said Steven. "We have selected names which we believe best reflect the unique nature of our weka."

Adam Tait from Room 10 of Kelburn Normal School forwarded "Scratch and Skittle" as his names for one pair of weka. "I chose these names because I fed the wekas once and I think these names suit them," said Adam.

Children from years three and four of Island Bay School selected Maori names, 'Nga Horo Tamaheihei o Karori and Nga Whakatoi Heihei o Karori' which translate as 'The Fast Rooster and the Cheeky Hen' Over 100 names from fifteen schools were forwarded to the Sanctuary Trust as part of the competition.

Each school in the Wellington region received a 'wonderful weka' education pack to use in their class studies. The education pack provides information for children to learn more about weka and other threatened native birds. Children from year-three and four of Island Bay School and Room 10 of Kelburn Normal School had the opportunity to become a 'weka feeder' for a day last December. The remaining names will be used to name future weka, which will be bred in the Sanctuary.

The new names of our weka are :

Nga Horo Tamaheihei o Karori and Nga Whakatoi Heihei o Karori'
('The Fast Rooster and the Cheeky Hen')
Year 3 and 4 - Island Bay School

Scratch and Skittle
Room 10 - Kelburn Normal School

Manaaki and Tumanako
(Take Care of and Hope)
Room 2 - Titahi Bay North School

Rocky and Kiki
Room 4 - Korokoro School, Petone.

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