The Ridd family enjoying their visit to the crèche
Image: DOC


Take the opportunity to visit the whio crèche to see this unique and endangered bird up close.

The Whio Crèche

Whio are a unique native blue duck found only in New Zealand’s clean, fast-flowing waters like the Tongariro River, which flows past the trout centre. They are classified as ‘nationally vulnerable’, and are rarer than some species of kiwi.

The crèche is a new facility acts as a ‘boot camp’ for young whio bred in captivity, to toughen them up for survival in the wild - and it's a great opportunity for visitors to see these special birds close up!

Made up of two predator-proof enclosures, and complete with fast flowing streams and rapids, river rocks and tussock, the facility gives whio the perfect learning environment for life in the wild.

The ducklings come through the facility in the summer months only, between November and March.

Why a crèche at the Trout Centre?

Before Tūrangi, the only other whio hardening facilities were in the South Island, meaning whio bred in the North Island would be sent south to 'harden up' before returning north for their release. A long journey for such young birds!

The whio are the latest addition to the Tongariro National Trout Centre, joining the freshwater aquarium, hatchery, museum and education centre in celebrating our clean freshwater and its values.

The facility adds to efforts by Genesis Energy in partnership with DOC to increase whio numbers through the Whio Forever Project.


Four young whio learning to swim in the rapids of the new facility.
Four young whio learning to swim in the purpose built rapids of the new facility

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