The Wildlife Act Authority was granted on 16th June for the capture of up to 40 kokako from the Waipapa Block in Pureora for release into Mangakaraa on Pirongia. On Tuesday morning 20th June, two birds were caught and taken to Grey Road where they were released just after midday. The birds, a male and a female, named by Ngati Apakura as Rongomau and Rangimarie, both bearing the meaning of peace, were welcomed with utmost respect. A stunning silence was observed by the more than 100 people who had gathered to witness this momentous occasion. Local iwi greeted the birds on their arrival with karakia and waiata. Once the transport boxes were opened they quickly flew to the canopy. Huge thanks are due to the capture team led by Dave Bryden and including Tertia Thurley pictured here; and to all the volunteers and supporters who have made it possible.
Following the release people gathered in the Pirongia Forest Park lodge where speeches were made and refreshments shared. Clare St Pierre spoke of the fulfillment of the long held dream which had inspired the formation of this society in 2002 and of the bonds of friendship with Ngati Rereahu who have gifted their taonga.
Nimbus media have made a video of the release which in its draft form can be seen at: https://vimeo.com/222604601.
More photos can be found on the society’s Facebook page.
Four more birds have been caught and released to date (23rd June). We look forward to more arrivals and to hearing their distinctive flute-like call on our mountain once they have settled in.