Australasian bittern/matuku
Image: Imogen Warren ©


View the winders of competitions to name and colour the backpacking Australasian bittern/matuku.

Date:  06 March 2018

The winning name has been announced on Facebook.

Name our backpacking bittern competition - voting is open!

Look at our Australian bittern/matuku (see the image above or view larger (JPG, 270K)) and vote for the name you like best.

From all the wonderful names submitted our panel have chosen three:

1. Manu nui (Big bird)

2. Boomer

3. Swampee

Congratulations if you submitted one of these names. We will be in touch :)

To vote for your favourite:

  • email your favourite bittern name from the three to with your full name, age, contact phone number and email adress, or
  • download and fill out the voting form (PDF, 120K) and drop it off in one of the voting boxes at Te Kauwhata Library, Te Kauwhata Primary School, Waireinga Primary, Aparangi Village or Te Kauwhata College. 

Open to all ages.

Voting closes 3 pm, Wednesday 7 March 2018. 

The winning name will be announced on Facebook.

All winners will be announced on Facebook on 10 March 2018. 


First place

  • a pair of Permafocus binoculars
  • a prize pack of Whangamarino Wetland goodies
  • PLUS...a day out exploring the Whangamarino Wetland with our DOC Rangers. Bring a friend and discover the secrets of the Wetland on a guided walk and boat or kayaking adventure.

Runners up

  • a prize pack of Whangamarino Wetland goodies

What's in the prize pack?

  • Whangamarino hoody/singlet/longsleeve
  • magnet
  • pen
  • chocolate kokopu

Colouring competition

Download and print the of picture of Australasian bittern (PDF, 705K) and colour it in.

Once completed, drop your entry to Te Kauwhata Library.

Entries close 3 pm, Wednesday 7 March 2018.

All winners announced 10 March on Facebook

Age categories for colouring competition

  • 5 and under
  • 6-9 years
  • 10-13 years


First place in each division

  • a prize pack of Whangamarino Wetland goodies

What's in the prize pack?

  • Whangamarino hoody/singlet/longsleeve
  • magnet
  • pen
  • chocolate kokopu

About Whangamarino bittern

Whangamarino Wetland, on our doorstep, is a treasure trove of rare and endangered species, like the Australasian bittern/matuku. This iconic wetland bird is rarely seen as it's good at blending into its surroundings and is now so rare, it is classed as Nationally Critical. 

No-one knows for sure why these large heron-sized birds decide to take to the air on their powerful wings from time to time and move to other areas. But thanks to a local male bittern, the first to be caught in Whangamarino since the 1980s, we might be about to find out.

DOC Whangamarino Ranger, Kaitlin Morrison and ecologist contractor, Emma Williams, followed his loud booms and discovered a path he had been using through the wetland. There they set up a cage trap with a mirror in the back, luring him with recordings of another male bittern's booms. Tricked into seeing his own reflection as an intruder into his territory, he was easily trapped.

His captors carefully attached a tiny transmitter backpack and let him go. Now at last, Kaitlin has a way of finding out what bittern like to do. She can pick up his whereabouts when she is in the area by using a radio receiver and an aerial. From the GPS in his backpack she gets updates on his location. Look out for future Chatter articles to find out where he goes.

World Wetland Day on 2 February is a great day to celebrate this intriguing bird, and his amazing home, the Whangamarino Wetland. 

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