3 ways to Christmas like a kākāpō

Department of Conservation —  16/12/2022

Christmas is just around the corner, and if you’ve ever wondered how to celebrate the kākāpō way, we’ve got you covered with a step-by-step guide!

1. Indulge in a bit of Christmas pudding

Some people’s silly season traditions include creeping to the fridge in the middle of the night for a secret spoonful of trifle and day napping, lots of day napping.

Kākāpō are nocturnal, they forage for food at night and tend to siesta on the ground, or roost in trees, during the day. A few, like ‘Nora’, are also quite fond of a nice snooze in the sun on a good day.

Kākāpō slowly lost their ability to fly after years of living in New Zealand with no predators and became the heaviest parrot on the planet.

No-one’s encouraging you to rival that of course.

Kākāpō eating supplejack berries
📷: Jake Osborne, DOC

2. Work it off with a bit of exercise

To avoid joining any ‘heaviest on the planet’ categories, try a bit of nature walking this Christmas in between ‘puds’. Power walking and hill fitness are both great for your health and can take you up to some amazing views.

Although they don’t fly, kākāpō have big strong legs and powerful claws, and they can climb up really tall trees. They’re also excellent hikers who can walk several kilometres at a time and get a great burst of speed on too! ‘Kōhitatea’ the kākāpō is well known for walking from one side of Whenua Hou/Codfish Island to the other in a single night, repeatedly.

‘Ruggedy’ getting in their exercise by climbing a tree
📷: Maddy Whittaker, DOC

3. Visit a remote island

Before humans settled here, kākāpō were widespread on mainland New Zealand. But these days all known kākāpō live on protected offshore island sanctuaries that offer natural vegetation, shelter and safety from introduced mammals such as stoats, cats, rats and mice.

If there’s something lockdown and border restrictions showed us, it’s that many people left parts of New Zealand unexplored in favour of overseas trips. Now, more than ever, Kiwis are taking the time to check out places they’ve never been to, right in their own back yards.

Anchor Island
📷: Jake Osborne, DOC

Although you can’t visit kākāpō on their protected islands, you’ve got options! For a tiny country, we have a crazy 600+ islands – not all of them are visitable, but many are – have a Google! It’s time to go “overseas” and see New Zealand.

📷: Tama Pugsley

Learn more about kākāpō:
Kākāpō are an endangered taonga (sacred treasure) of Ngāi Tahu. Currently there are only 252 kākāpō left on the planet. To learn more about kākāpō conservation and the Kākāpō Recovery Programme click here.

One response to 3 ways to Christmas like a kākāpō


    Also important is competing to be chosen by Santa to pull his sleigh. The one night kakapo fly!