Words on a Wing’s kākāpō steals the show!

 —  21/10/2010

Auckland’s giant kākāpō – named Kiri te Kākāpō by Verran Primary School – has become a star attraction at the 10th meeting of the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) which began in Japan this week.


Kiri te Kākāpō sporting her lovely plumage.

Auckland's giant kākāpō 'Kiri te Kākāpō' sporting her lovely plumage of conservation messages


Our man in Nagoya Andrew Bignell (DOC’s International Relations manager and head of the NZ government delegation at the Japanese meeting), reports that even while the team was unpacking the bird people were stopping to talk and take photographs!

“Having the kākāpō here has been a wonderful start and has given a morale boost to the delegation to see a bit of home displayed in such a prominent position.”


Curious onlookers stop to check out Kiri te Kākāpō in Japan.

Curious onlookers stop to check out Kiri te Kākāpō at DOC's display at the 10th meeting of the CBD in Japan


Kiri and her plumage of messages is the heart of DOC’s display at the CBD’s fair showing the best examples from around the world of International Year of Biodiversity education and awareness activities.

On Thursday, the bird will take centre stage at a special ceremony in which the CBD’s executive secretary Dr Ahmed Djoghlaf will accept a selection of the more the 20,000 messages New Zealanders have composed.

Andrew will present Dr Djoghlaf with a beautiful kākāpō poster made for the Words on a Wing action by year 3 and 4 pupils from Auckland’s Albany Primary School.

How did a flightless parrot make it all the way to Japan?

Happily the wonderful team at Air NZ came to the rescue. They organised for Kiri to arrive in Nagoya in good time and in excellent nick. They’ll also fly her home again when the meeting finishes on the 29th.


The team at Air New Zealand pose with Kiri te Kākāpō.

The team at Air New Zealand form a scrum with Kiri te Kākāpō as a farewell before she sets off on her big OE



Kiri te Kākāpō is all wrapped up and loaded into the cargo hold for her flight to Japan.

Kiri te Kākāpō is all wrapped up and loaded into the cargo hold for her flight to Japan


While you’re still thinking about biodiversity, check out the song Verran Primary School wrote for Kiri.

Te Papa’s naming competition for the Wellington kākāpō

And the winner is…  “Mātārere” which means forerunner/harbinger. The winning entry came from a kākāpo fan in Norway who faxed her entry to Te Papa. Thanks to our brainy bird experts at ZEALANDIA, Te Papa, and DOC for serving as judges.

The winner of the competition was initially going to win an annual family pass to ZEALANDIA, but because she lives a little too far away to get to enjoy that prize she’ll receive a bag of goodies from Te Papa instead.

Find out more

Words on a Wing and the giant kākāpō project

Te Papa’s naming competition