By Richard Robbins, Project Coordinator for Project Island Song
Forty tīeke/North Island saddleback were recently welcomed to Ipipiri in the Eastern Bay of Islands by around 90 tāngata whenua and Project Island Song supporters.
Twenty tīeke were released at Otehei Bay on Urupukapuka Island and twenty more at Ohutopu Bay on Moturua Island.
The birds arrived by helicopter from Mauimua/Lady Alice Island, each to a powhiri and celebration. Tīeke are the latest species to be returned as part of the Project Island Song restoration.
It was a huge relief to see the first lot of birds land safely and fly out of their boxes onto their new island home.
A further forty tīeke will arrive in late May—this time from Tiritiri Matangi—and again be divided between the two Ipipiri islands.
This will provide genetic diversity that should be useful for future populations elsewhere.