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Wellington Central takahē population set to double
ZEALANDIA Ecosanctuary

Wellington Central takahē population set to double

Zealandia Te Māra a Tāne are welcoming two new takahē on 28 August 2023. 

Bendigo (6 years, male) and Waitaa (3 years, female) are coming from Burwood Takahē Breeding Centre, and we're working closely with Taranaki Whānui and Ngāti Toa to welcome the pair into Zealandia. 

Bendigo was partnered with another female at Burwood before Waitaa, but they were never successful at breeding. However, the previous partner was successful with another male last season, so it is thought Bendigo may be infertile.  

Our existing takahē pair Nio (F, 18) and Orbell (M, 22) will remain in the wetland area of the sanctuary which only has enough space for one pair and is the only part of the sanctuary that has suitable breeding habitat for takahē. They are elderly manu/birds who we monitor closely, and we don’t want to relocate them due to thieir age.   

Because Waitaa and Bendigo are unlikely to breed, they will be released into the upper valley. They will be released into the pen on the Pylon Track for a few days until they settle in, after which they’ll be free to roam around the upper valley. 

As of 2021, there were only 440 takahē left in the world. Their population is managed at a national level by the Takahē Management Team (TMT) and Ngāi Tahu and birds are moved around the country to support the health and growth of the population.  

Zealandia Te Māra a Tāne has nearly 140,000 visitors annually and is an incredibly valuable advocacy site for this nationally vulnerable species, which are naturally found in mountainous and inaccessible habitat. By hosting this pair, we are assisting with takahē recovery efforts through advocacy. There is also limited breeding habitat in Aotearoa for these manu due to predators and habitat loss, and so this move will also be freeing up a prime breeding habitat at Burwood for a pair that can have chicks. 

We ask that people respect the temporary track closure signage in the area and give them space to settle in. There will also be plenty of opportunity to see Waitaa and Bendigo once they are settled into the sanctuary. Nio and Orbell lived in this same area for part of 2021, roamed widely and were frequently seen along the fence line between Denton and the Turbine track, delighting many walkers and mountain bikers. Please be extra vigilant when opening and closing gates on walking tracks in the valley and don’t let any takahē through gates.  


Pictured: Nio and Orbell (current resident takahē). Photo by Jo Ferguson

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