Whio family at Katipo Creek, Heaphy Track
Image: Richard Rossiter | DOC

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


With 10 years of partnership between Genesis and DOC now in the bank, whio/blue duck are thriving in the tributaries of the Whanganui River.

Date:  22 March 2022

Once widespread throughout the country whio/blue duck are now limited to the less modified catchments of the Urewera, East Cape, central areas of the North Island, and the West Coast of the South Island.

Predator trapping along the Retaruke and Manganui-o-te-ao Rivers supports the Whanganui population.  Recent surveys indicate the whio population is increasing in the Whanganui rohe, and a census in 2021 counted 863 pairs nationally.”

Community Senior Ranger Katy Newton says whio/blue duck are a taonga species found nowhere else in the world.

“They are rarer than some species of kiwi and are river specialists, living on fast-flowing tributaries to the Whanganui River.

“Having them in our streams and rivers is a key indicator of healthy rivers and streams - the more breeding pairs of whio the healthier the river.  

“Their habitat has been reduced by the clearance of vegetation from stream and riverbanks, water diversions, poor water quality, and damming for hydro-electric and irrigation schemes. 

“Additionally, recreational activities such as white-water rafting, kayaking, hunting and fishing, disturb whio families during breeding season.

“But the overwhelming good news is through sustained trapping efforts they are making a comeback.”

Katy says the DOC website has some fun whio educational resources and for those with artistic flair, there’s the opportunity to send in a coloured whio masterpiece and possibly win a whio prize pack. Entries close 5 April 2022.


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Email: media@doc.govt.nz

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