10 Jan 2012

Fluttering shearwaters return to Wellington island

10:04 pm on 10 January 2012

Eighty fluttering shearwater birds are being moved to Matiu/ Somes Island on Tuesday establish a colony on the Wellington Harbour island.

The project is being managed by the Matiu/Somes Charitable Trust and the Kaitiaki Board with support from the Department of Conservation.

The birds were once common around Wellington Harbour and were an important food source for local Maori, but they have not bred in the area since pre-European times.

The birds taken the island are from Long Island in the Marlborough Sounds where it is estimated several thousand breeding pairs live.

They will join other species introduced to the island, including Cook Strait giant weta, several species of gecko, Brothers Island tuatara and the North Island robin.

The birds are expected to begin breeding in about five years' time.