New home for 100 whiteheads

30 Apr 2013

By Jamie Shute

One-hundred whiteheads (popokatea) found a new home at the Forest & Bird and Auckland Council-run Ark in the Park last month.

Ark in the Park manager Gillian Wadams (centre) releases whiteheads with help from volunteers and iwi representative Ringi Brown (right) Photo: Jamie Shute

Ark in the Park manager Gillian Wadams (centre) releases whiteheads with help from volunteers and iwi representative Ringi Brown (right) Photo: Jamie Shute

It was the fourth time whiteheads have been released into the 3200 hectare pest-controlled sanctuary, bringing the total number of birds transferred into the Ark to 353.

Tiritiri Matangi volunteers took just three days to catch the 100 whiteheads from the pest-free Tiritiri Matangi Island before releasing them in front of Ark in the Park staff, volunteers and supporters and local iwi representative Ringi Brown.

Ringi Brown of Ngati Manuhiri has witnessed all releases of translocated whiteheads into the Ark and said the release was “well organised and successful and enjoyed by all who attended”.

“While there is a healthy resident population on Tiritiri Matangi, they are less abundant on the mainland and therefore it is satisfying to see these taonga being reintroduced to a protected area, which is accessible to the public,” he said.

The release was most likely the only release of whiteheads this year. However Ark in the Park manager Gillian Wadams said releases of robins and introducing kakariki were future possibilities. Planning was also underway for further work with the existing kokako population..