A new baby in the (DOC) family – Orange-fronted parakeets/kākāriki breed on Tuhua

Sarah Mankelow —  31/03/2011


It’s times like these that I am reminded that the organisation I work for can be like a big family.

Sarah, the orange fronted Cantabrian, with two Tauranga chicks, Barb and Janice

Following the Christchurch earthquake and our office being closed, I decided to go back to my hometown and work from the Tauranga Area Office for a few weeks.

They welcomed me with open arms – great bunch of people – and on my first day I was reminded by ranger John H that other Cantabrians also were seeking refuge here. Canterbury’s own orange-fronted parakeets or kākāriki – are currently residing here on Tuhua – an offshore island paradise.

And within a week of being back inside the buzz of a busy area office I was privileged to be among the first to hear – juvenile parakeets had been spotted on the island!

The arrival of new babies are always a happy occasion and these wee parakeets – photographed by John H during a nest-monitoring trip – are no exception.

Orange-fronted parakeets are extremely rare – there are less than 200 left in the wild and only in Canterbury.

Orange-fronted parakeet/kākāriki

To help save this species from extinction, some birds have been reared in captivity by Anne and her team at Isaacs Wildlife Trust in Christchurch. The birds are then released on predator-free offshore islands – including Tuhua here in the Bay of Plenty. They arrived here this summer, and John H has been keeping a close eye on them ever since.

This little kākāriki signals hope for the future – the first confirmed breeding of orange-fronted parakeet in the North Island for over 130 years!

Everyone here – and in Canterbury – is absolutely over the moon with the discovery.

Tuhua, because of its size, could be just so important to the future of this fantastic wee parakeet. Tūhua is a really special place – the ancestral home of Te Whānau a Tauwhao ki Tūhuaand looked after by the Tūhua Trust Board.

I feel so proud to have just been a bystander in this wonderful event. And it reminds me that no matter where we are in the country, we are all working towards the same goals – a future for our own children. Just call me Aunty Sarah!

Sarah Mankelow


A North Island defector, I came south to go to Lincoln Uni and never looked back. My first ‘serious’ job with DOC was in Arthur’s Pass. I've been based in Christchurch since the turn of the century!

2 responses to A new baby in the (DOC) family – Orange-fronted parakeets/kākāriki breed on Tuhua


    they are so cute!!!!