15 Sep 2021

Our Changing World - South Island kākā in Ōtepoti

From Afternoons, 3:35 pm on 15 September 2021

In the hills north of Ōtepoti Dunedin the predator-free fenced area of Orokonui Ecosanctuary provides a safe space for many native New Zealand birds, tuatara and lizards.

Orokonui Ecosanctuary

Orokonui Ecosanctuary Photo: RNZ / Claire Concannon

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After it opened in 2007, South Island kākā were the first birds released into the ecosanctuary, the beginning of a plan to re-establish a population of these birds, long lost to their ancestral home.

While the population has grown across time, it hasn't been all smooth sailing. The South Island kākā breeding programme at the Dunedin Botanic Garden continues to help kākā parents to raise new chicks, to supplement those breeding inside of the ecosanctuary. Unfortunately, some the curious juveniles that wander beyond the fence have met untimely deaths due to various reasons.

Claire Concannon learns about the rollercoaster ride of the South Island kākā’s return to this area, and about the many groups working together to help make it happen.

Kākā chicks at the Dunedin Wildlife Hospital

Kākā chicks at the Dunedin Wildlife Hospital Photo: Supplied