Introduction

DOC will be meeting with Ngāti Rangi representatives about the use of dead birds for cultural purposes.

The meeting follows reports that New Zealand pigeon/kererū were served at a meal at an Ohakune marae in 2013.

DOC Deputy Director-General Mike Slater says DOC does not have any record of authorising dead kererū for consumption.

He says however that DOC is continuing to talk with Ngāti Rangi about possible misunderstandings around dead birds provided locally for other cultural purposes.

Mike Slater says inquiries have not revealed evidence of any offence and the time frame involved also precludes the prospect of legal action.

He says DOC plans to meet with Ngāti Rangi representatives to clarify the processes that are in place to access dead birds for cultural uses.

Mike Slater says DOC welcomes recent comments from Ngāti Rangi representatives about wanting to work with DOC to rebuild kererū populations.

He says that the New Zealand pigeon/kererū/kūkupa is fully protected and the population will decline without active protection and on-going conservation support from across the community.

Background information

Kererū are found throughout New Zealand and while common in some areas, they are scarce in others where its forest habitat has been depleted. There is no precise national population figure but it is estimated to be several hundred thousand. Prior to people arriving in New Zealand kererū would have numbered in the millions.

Sustained pest control in some areas appears to have stemmed the decline in kererū numbers nationally and its formal conservation status is "not threatened – conservation dependent". However, in many areas where there is no pest control introduced pests such as possums, rats and stoats are causing local kererū populations to continue to decline.

Conservation efforts by DOC, regional councils, iwi and community groups are focussed on ongoing pest control to stop the decline of a range of forest species including kererū.

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