Stella the kākāpō on Codfish Island
Image: Sabine Bernert | ©


DOC and Meridian Energy are partnering together to support the Kākāpō Recovery Programme.


Kākāpō Motupohue when he was released at Sanctuary Mountain Maungatautari in July.
Image: DOC

Kākāpō are one of New Zealand’s most endangered species. In 2016, DOC and Meridian Energy joined forces to support the Kākāpō Recovery Programme, a world class conservation initiative to protect and restore the critically endangered taonga species. Since the beginning of the partnership the population has more than doubled reach a high of 252 in 2022.

The programme is operated by the Department of Conservation in partnership with Ngāi Tahi, with support from National Partner Merdian Energy. It combines the efforts of iwi, scientists, rangers, volunteers, donors, and partners to support kākāpō conservation. This includes work such as kākāpō population monitoring, technology developments, research, health checks, predator control, management of breeding seasons and kākāpō advocacy.

Meridian Energy provides funding to support many areas of this work, as well as in-kind support for electrical infrastructure, technology and field work volunteers. This in-kind support has enabled the installation of energy-efficient solar and electrical systems in breeding facilities and rangers’ huts. It also provides Meridian staff the chance to use their engineering skills in a different environment and to experience the remote kākāpō breeding islands.

"Meridian is committed to helping protect our natural environment and we are proud to be raising awareness of the plight of kākāpō. I saw first-hand the hard work of the dedicated team and had the privilege of getting up close to this amazing bird. It was a once in a lifetime experience and I hope that [one day] this can be a reality for other New Zealanders" Meridian CEO, Neal Barclay

Key to the success of this programme is the strength of Meridian’s partnership with Ngāi Tahu, which continues to foster understanding and support of each other’s views and long-term aspirations.

"Kākāpō are treasured by Ngāi Tahu as a taonga species, they are part of our tribal identity and it’s wonderful to see that Meridian values them too,” says Tāne Davis, the Ngāi Tahu appointee to the Kākāpō Recovery Group.

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