Rare bird release is boost for Rotokare

21:36, May 13 2014
RARE SIGHT: Rotokare Scenic Reserve Trust sanctuary manager Simon Collins prepares to release a tieke into the pest-free haven. 

Eighty tieke and popokatea swooped into Taranaki on the weekend and took up residence in the largest inland pest-free sanctuary.

The dual release continues work by the Rotokare Scenic Reserve Trust to reintroduce key species to the province.

Trust sanctuary manager Simon Collins said it was thought the tieke, or saddleback, had been absent from Taranaki for about 150 years.

Collins said the weekend release was a year in the making and the logistics of rounding up the birds had been intense.

"This is conservation history," he said. "The whole process and detail of a project like this is amazing."

The birds made the 395km journey from Little Barrier Island to Lake Rotokare, near Eltham, via helicopter and car with the help of a handful of volunteers.


Collins said those who missed out on last weekend's release could still get in on the action.

"We are asking for community sponsorship to help support the reintroduction and the ongoing monitoring and protection that follows."

He said those who offered support would be invited to help release 40 more tieke at the end of the month.

"There are limited available places left, but offers a great opportunity for members of the public or local businesses to be a part of making history."

Those interested in getting involved can contact the trust on contact@rotokare.org.nz or 06 764 8500.

Taranaki Daily News