Archives For orokonui

Sirocco the kākāpō, our social media superstar and New Zealand’s Official Spokesbird for Conservation, was introduced to a new Japanese audience last month and gained thousands of devoted new fans as a result. Tourism New Zealand tells the story:

Sirocco kākāpō. Photo copyright: Janice McKenna.

Sirocco kākāpō. Photo copyright: Janice McKenna

Sirocco the kākāpō has been charming a new international audience after a popular Japanese television show, with an audience in excess of 10 million, mentioned him during a feature on New Zealand in August.

When one of the presenters on the Sekai no Hatemade Itte Q! television show started talking about a kākāpō in New Zealand who had his own Twitter account, but could not recall the account name, the Tourism New Zealand team in Japan grabbed the opportunity to help and sent out a tweet introducing @Spokesbird:

“Looks like Sirocco is hooked on Twitter and Facebook! He said he wants a smart phone too, but the screen doesn’t work with his claws. There are only 124 kakapo alive today, and for Sirocco, every connection is an important one.”

Within a few hours this tweet had generated over 500 retweets and gained Sirocco the kākāpō over 2,000 new followers, all from Japan. Subsequent tweets about New Zealand’s native fauna and flora, as well as appeals to teach Sirocco Japanese, also proved popular with fans young and old.

One of the most popular tweets was when Sirocco tweeted:

日本まで飛んで皆さんに会いに行きたいけど、実は僕、世界で唯一飛べないオウムなんだよ(´・ ω・`)ショボーン。みんながNZまで会いに来てくれたら嬉しいな! 9/6~10/6 南島ダニーデンのオロコヌイ・エコサンクチュアリで僕と会えるよ。

Which translated is:

“I’d love to fly over and visit you all in Japan, but I can’t because I’m the world’s only flightless parrot [sad face]. I’d love it if you came to see me though. I’ll be at the Orokonui Ecosanctuary in Dunedin from Sept 9 till Oct 6.”

The New Zealand parrot shot to fame in 2009 off the back of the BBC’s ‘Last Chance to See’ programme, when Sirocco attempted to mate with zoologist Mark Carwardine’s head. Footage of this event generated more than half a million hits on YouTube and had social network sites buzzing.

In January 2010 Sirocco was officially recognised as a conservation ambassador by the Prime Minister John Key, who named the parrot the “Official Spokesbird for Conservation”. Mr Key commented on Sirocco’s “worldwide fan base” who “hang on every squawk that comes out of his beak” and said Sirocco would focus attention on the plight of endangered species.

Sirocco will be on show from 6 Sept – 6 Oct at the Orokonui Ecosanctuary in Dunedin and bookings from Japan are already coming in, with one fan coming back to see Sirocco after visiting him two years ago.

Both the original BBC programme ‘Last Chance to See’ and the Japanese visit from ‘Sekai no Hatemade Itte Q!’ were supported by Tourism New Zealand’s international media programme, reinforcing that key messages from these visits have impact beyond just their in market on air screenings.

Connect with Sirocco on Facebook and Twitter. He’s looking forward to meeting you.

Learn more about Sirocco:

Quammen and Te Hoiere, may be a couple of ‘dud’ takahē when it comes to breeding, but at Orokonui Ecosanctuary near Dunedin, they are being hailed as ambassadors for conservation.

Meet Quammen and Te Hoiere. Photo: Paul Nevin.

Mitre 10 Takahē Rescue logo

Their arrival is being celebrated as a great example of what can be achieved by partnerships like the one between the Orokonui Ecosanctuary, DOC, local iwi, and Mitre 10 Takahē Rescue.

The two takahē travelled by boat, car and plane to Dunedin from Maud Island in the Marlborough Sounds last Tuesday. Under the watchful eye of media and about 25 invited guests, the birds were released into the Ecosanctuary—a project of the Otago Natural History Trust. Ecosanctuary operations manager Chris Baillie said it had taken a long time and much work to get the birds to the Ecosanctuary, and to see them arrive was like a “dream come true.”

With Mitre 10 (who sponsor the takahē recovery programme) and DOC working together to renew and refresh Mitre 10 Takahē Rescue, national chairman and Mitre 10 MEGA Dunedin owner Martin Dippie was keen for his store to get involved with Orokonui Ecosanctuary by supporting it as a new home for takahē.

Orokonui Ecosanctuary map

His store provided materials for a new enclosure, which Mitre 10 staff enthusiastically spent a day helping the Ecosanctuary to build.

“The event at Orokonui went really well with a number of groups working together to give the birds a warm welcome to their new home. It was great to work closely with DOC, Orokonui, and local iwi, further developing our relationships,” said Mr Dippie.”

“At Mitre 10 we’re eager to continue to develop our partnership at a more local level with DOC, and in Dunedin we will further build our relationship with Orokonui to help support Te Hoiere and Quammen in their new home.”

Takahē ranger Martin Genet looks on as Mitre 10’s Martin Dippie and iwi representative Hoata Holmes release the takahē into Orokonui Ecosanctuary

Mr Dippie was on hand to release Quammen into the new enclosure, while Kati Huirapa Runaka ki Puketeraki iwi representative Hoata Holmes released Te Hoiere. Mitre 10 staff also joined a public event to celebrate the arrival of the takahē into Dunedin on Sunday, providing a marquee and BBQ for fundraising.

Te Anau Area Manager Reg Kemper said the transfer of takahē to Orokonui was a credit to the takahē team, whose focus was on building the national takahē population, creating new sites for takahē, and working in partnership with Mitre 10 to increase the support for takahē conservation.

“This transfer ticks all the boxes,” said Reg. “The team have managed to remove a couple of non-breeding birds from Maud Island, freeing up space for breeding birds. By providing the  Ecosanctuary with the takahē, they have created a golden opportunity for more New Zealanders to get up close and appreciate these unique birds; they’re supporting our partners, fostering relationships between our partners and at the end of the day its all increasing support for conservation.”

Learn more

About takahe on the DOC website

Mitre 10 Takahē Rescue partnership on the DOC website

Orokonui Ecosanctuary website