Archived content: This media release was accurate on the date of publication. 


Four female kākā released today into the Abel Tasman National Park will boost the breeding population of the large forest dwelling parrots.

Date:  29 April 2016

Image: Sabine Bernert ©

The four birds will join three other females that were transferred to the upper reaches of the park by environmental trust Project Janszoon, DOC, and iwi in November 2015. There is a small remnant population of wild male kākā in the Abel Tasman so these birds will enhance the breeding population.

The five-month-old birds come from existing captive breeding populations and were transferred to the Wainui Hut aviary in early April. Project Janszoon ornithologist Pete Gaze says volunteers have visited them every day to give them fresh food and water, and check their wellbeing.   

“The volunteers have noticed two of the birds we released last year hanging around the aviary so I think the girls are ready to go out into the wild. There are still plenty of native berries around and we hope other kākā in the area will serve to anchor them around the top of the park where there is an extensive stoat trapping network”, he says. 

DOC Motueka Operations Manager Chris Golding says the birds have all had transmitters fitted and will be monitored for years to come. 

“The ultimate test will be if these birds can breed successfully in the wild without the devastating predation by stoats which threatens most mainland populations, so monitoring allows us to see when that happens. By understanding more about where they range and their preferred habitat we can also plan for the management of kākā in the Abel Tasman into the future”, he says. 

'The four kākā were raised in Te Anau, Dundin and Invercargill. Golden Bay iwi Manawhenua Ki Mohua have named one of the birds, Pounamu. Representative Mairangi Reiher says the name acknowledges the southern iwi that were the Kaitiaki (carer) of the manu kākā. 

“The bird has come from the other end of Ki Te Waipounamu (South Island) into the guardianship of Manawhenua Ki Mohua. Pounamu is a taonga, as are all our native birds, so the name 'Pounamu' holds special significance”, she says. 

Te Anau’s Oraka Aparima runanga have named another of the birds Moana. The two others were named as part of a Trade Me auction and are called Mabel and Izzie. 


Project Janszoon ornithologist Pete Gaze
Phone: + 64 27 450 0179

DOC Motueka Operations Manager Chris Golding
Phone: +64 27 839 9999

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