Kapiti Island takahē flies the nest

Department of Conservation —  04/09/2014

By Megan Martin, Partnerships Ranger, Wellington

A few years ago Kawa, a much loved female takahē, was transferred off Kapiti Island and ended up at the Te Anau Wildlife Centre.

She’s a beautiful, happy bird and is a real star down there—always drawing a crowd.

Kawa being released  by Mitre10 staff at Te Anau Wildlife Park. Photo: Barry Harcourt.

Kawa being released at Te Anau Wildlife Park

Kawa is also very fat. She loves sweetcorn but the staff have to watch her diet because all that sugary starch isn’t good for this chick’s waistline.

Although Kawa wasn’t a particularly successful breeder, her genes were already over-represented in the takahē population, so she was paired up with an infertile male, Tumbles.

Each year, Kawa and Tumbles produce infertile eggs which are replaced with fertile ones because they are such awesome foster parents.

Kawa feeding her foster chick at Te Anau Wildlife Park.

Kawa being an excellent foster mother and feeding her chick

At the moment Kawa and Tumbles are also trialling a new type of harness. No, not so they can be taken for walks, but to test how comfortable a new style of radio transmitter harness might be for the wild takahē roaming ‘round the Murchison Mountains.

When the harness was fitted to Kawa the rangers had difficulty finding her keel, or breastbone. Usually this would stick out, but in Kawa’s case there is a little extra padding, so a considerably smaller harness than the one Kawa wears will have to be used on the wild birds!

Tumbles the takahē puffing up his feathers.

Kawa’s partner in Te Anau, Tumbles

From Kapiti Island girl to foster mother and harness model in Te Anau – we’re proud of you, Kawa!

3 responses to Kapiti Island takahē flies the nest


    Kawa and Tumbles are absolute teasures and you can join them and their ranger to help feed their breakfast 10.30am daily at Te Anau Wildlife Park (9.15am Nov-April)


    I am filled with pleasure to see this wonderful reserve showing what can be done with proper understanding and knowledge where eco tourism is concerned.In the past we have been to easily overtaken by greed which saw losses of unique and unusual species disappear forever.Keep up the great work you inspire many other countries showing what can be done to live side by side when due consideration is embraced for the future of animals & mankind alike,ki ora to you all….