It’s been a strange time – first they flew me up here (First Class, Box), and I got to meet some great children at a school in Nelson. When I arrived, there was a big ceremony befitting a celebrity such as myself. My friends from Ngai Tahu passed me over to Ngati Kuia who look after Maud Island – or Te Hoiere as they call it.
There was great singing, we shared a hongi – that’s the traditional greeting of touching noses. It’s not easy doing that with a beak but I took a stab at it…no-one was hurt so all good!
We then went for a tour – in the water there’s beautiful phosphorescence which sparkles like my eyes… I remembered it from when I was here before – the rangers had gone swimming in the water and I didn’t want to be left out, so I ran along the jetty and jumped in! They all looked a bit worried but I just did my kakapo butterfly stroke and swam back to shore. As Mark Carwardine learned, you should never underestimate a kakapo.
It’s a great place here – plenty of frogs, glow worms and giant weta to keep me company. But the one thing I wanted to know was – why am I here?!
After a bit of digging (and a bit of nibbling, a bit of hopping and a touch of head-jumping) I managed to get the truth out of the rangers here, Leigh and Richard.
You all know that I am the Official Spokesbird for Conservation…well, I’m soon to be Official Kakapo Ambassador, a position created especially for me! It’s all a bit secret at the moment, but after I’ve settled in for a while here, the plan is for me to do a few special guest appearances around the country. I still remember going to Auckland Zoo a while back and being treated like a rock star…more of the same please!
But that won’t be for a while. Meantime, I’m having fun with the rangers and their children Mahina and Liam, and I know there’ll be a few local school parties coming to visit me soon.
One other thing – these people came along and put me in a cage – the cheek of it! So I escaped…and when they put me in again, I escaped again! I realised later that they were nice people from a place called Maungatautari, in Waikato, where they’ve built a huge fenced sanctuary to protect endangered species (like me).
Apparently the fence is great for keeping predators out – but not so good for keeping clever parrots like me in! Hopefully I’ve given them some ideas on how to make it better, in case one day some of my mates get to live in a fenced sanctuary.
So lots of fun here – life’s pretty good right now for this kakapo.
PS – big ups to Air NZ for flying us up to Maud for free! Many thanks guys!