Pūkaha National Wildlife Centre is an unfenced sanctuary for native wildlife in the Wairarapa. It's open to the public.

Pukaha National Wildlife Centre logo.


Pūkaha National Wildlife Centre
State Highway 2, Masterton
Phone: +64 6 375 8004

Takahē that lives here

Takahē are synonymous with the Pūkaha National Wildlife Centre. Elwin Welch, an amateur ornithologist, successfully raised four chicks on his farm in 1960, after they were rediscovered in the mountains of Fiordland in 1948. The decision was then made to move the birds to the current site at Mt Bruce Forest Reserve.

Since then many takahē have passed through Pūkaha National Wildlife Centre and it remains strongly connected to the Takahē Recovery Programme. Bud and Natural were two males who last called the Wildlife Centre home. They were not successful breeders so spent their twilight years endearing themselves to visitors. Bud passed away in 2017 and Natural in 2019. The current residents are Fomi and Tuatahi.

Fomi came to Pūkaha from Mana in 2017 and Tuatahi from Burwood in 2019.  There is a strong possibility that the birds could nest as both are capable of breeding. A chick hatching at Pūkaha would be the first time in decades that this had occurred.

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