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Kokako - Bird of the Year

Pirongia Te Aroaro o Kahu Restoration Society is gearing up for a momentous year in 2017 and it is all about kokako.

This native bird was recently voted Bird of the Year and if the Pirongia group’s plans are realized, they will be given the green light to re-establish this captivating bird on Mt Pirongia in the next 12 months. The last ones were removed from that maunga in the 1990s in the hope they would breed successfully in a safer place, and the Department of Conservation has confirmed that Pirongia bloodlines still survive today.

“We have committee members who remember hearing kokako on Mt Pirongia and bringing back that amazing song to our maunga was a key driver for forming our group,” said Clare St Pierre, who has been the society’s chairperson since its inception in 2002. “To be able to witness their return is probably going to bring a few tears to our eyes; it is so tremendous for us.”

The group has been eligible for kokako since setting up pest control on Mt Pirongia covering 1,000ha which is sufficient to sustain a population of the birds. While waiting for DoC approval, they instigated the Okahukura pest control project in Northern Pureora Forest (funded by DoC’s Community Fund) that protects a key remnant population of kokako.

The project, which began in 2015 and uses community volunteers, has been instrumental in the Pureora kokako population being classified as the strongest in the country. “Kokako for translocation could be available from as early as April 2017, so we want to be ready to go, as soon as we have the necessary approvals,” said Mrs St Pierre. This means fundraising about $100,000 for the first stage and a supporter’s package with a range of options is available on the society’s website - Click here for more info about donating.

Donations are tax deductible.

Please contact Clare St Pierre on 027324 8195 or for more information.

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