Last weekend in a dream setting at the foot of Mount Taranaki, Te Maunga Tapu, our little Kiwi got its name: Tupua Kiwi.

The name was gifted by Tohunga Te Huirangi Waikerepuru here in Taranaki. Birdie Tupua Kiwi also had an Initiation trip on Saturday, it went to the real kiwi reserve on Mount Taranaki. 

"Tupua is associated with the universe at the beginning of life. No water no grow. .. There must have been water otherwise no growth could have occurred ..." said Dr. Waikerepuru whilst explaining to me the choice for the name. "Tu pu means to grow, Tupua kawa means the lore, the principle of growth which is intrinsically linked to our trip to Mars".

From Pouakai to Mars, Tupua Kiwi's journey began ... with an extraordinary encounter - Mount Taranaki which you will be able to see on our Mars comparison map from Mission Support site as being similar to Mount Egmont on Mars. Two mighty volcanoes at more than 120,000,000 km apart (for now). Serendipitously this comparison was the very first image we received from our partners Eagle Technology Group who provided the mapping technology we will use to keep track of our journey through the desert in Utah.

Tupua Kiwi has a very good friend Kim the Koala (more about Kim in my next blog) and they will rendez-vous in Grand Junction!

After Tupua Kiwi will return from 'Mars" we will send him to fundraise and wish to donate the returns to one of the charities saving kiwis around New Zealand. So keep an eye on Tupua Kiwi, he could be your next good friend!

Taranaki that night was amazing with no cloud on the sky and all the stars of the galaxy who came to the party. Mars too ...

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