Ducks Unlimited NZ

Displaying items by tag: Pukaha Mount Bruce

Friday, 28 May 2021 22:49

Pukaha farewells leading lady

Pukaha Wildlife Centre's summer was overshadowed by the death of their treasured white kiwi, Manukura, who was farewelled in a special service on January 9.

However, Pukaha’s captive breeding ranger Tara Swan says there have been "lots of positive, happy things happening in the bush since our dear Manukura left us”, including the hatching of her 'niece or nephew', a chick from Manukura's brother, Mapuna.

"The little white patch you can see on the tip of the chick's head is almost like a little throwback to the white feather gene of Manukura (someone called it 'Manukura's kiss')," she said.

"We have had so many yellow crowned akariki hatch, with 16 fledglings and five still in the nest across two pairs, and all our kaka have been successful this year, with five kaka fledged across the aviaries," Tara said.

These birds will be released at Cape Sanctuary in Hawke’s Bay later on in the year.

Published in Issue 180
Tagged under
Sunday, 03 January 2021 18:23

Lockdown's silver lining

Flight magazine asked Pukaha/Mt Bruce's captive breeding ranger Tara Swan how the wildlife centre coped
during lockdown.

"Lockdown at Pukaha was lovely actually! Obviously businesswise, like everywhere, it was a bit of a big change, but for the wildlife, it was like a break for them. I think nature enjoyed it." she said.

The stand-out moment during lockdown was the arrival of a kōkako pair, walking the tracks daily and visiting the rangers.

"I think the lack of visitors walking around inspired the birds to come and check out what we do every day.

"We had a stunning orange- fronted kākāriki clutch raised and fledged during the lockdown (actually due for release in
September, depending on how this new Covid update plays out)", Tara said. 

During the first week of lockdown, four kākā juveniles from the centre's Aviary 3 pair were released into the forest.
This was ideal timing as it meant they could get used to the feed stations and other kākā without the distraction of
people too. They still hang around the feed stations so are easy to spot.

"Once lockdown was over, we sent two kiwi chicks to Sanctuary Mountain for release and four red-crowned kākāriki juveniles were released at Cape Sanctuary.

"Nine yellow-crowned kākāriki went to Nelson, where some stayed for some new captive breeding pairs and the rest were released on Puangiangi Island. "So yes, it was a bit mad! During and after as so many bird transfers were delayed due to the travel restrictions. Thankfully it was during the quiet season," Tara said.

Published in Issue 179
Tuesday, 27 August 2019 18:17

First Whio duckling in 15 years

Staff at Pukaha Mount Bruce were excited in late October last year with the arrival of the first whio (blue duck) to be hatched there in over 15 years.

The only one of four eggs to hatch, the duckling was raised with three other ‘exotic’ ducklings. The duckling’s mother was then put on another clutch of eggs and with hopes for a better hatch rate from the second clutch.

Staff are still unsure of the sex of this first whio. At approximately six months old a male whio will whistle when picked up and a female whio will grunt.

Published in Issue 158
Monday, 22 July 2019 14:27

Pukaha Mt Bruce news

Pukaha Mt Bruce news

Paintings at Pukaha

It started in March but continues to June 22 so you can enjoy an exhibition of native bird paintings at Pukaha Mount Bruce.
Entry to the exhibition is free of charge. 

Mauriora update

In October 2013 Mauriora, the second white kiwi to be hatched at Pukaha Mount Bruce, was released into the Pukaha reserve. A close eye was kept on him and in February it was decided that his weight wasn’t being maintained. He was taken to Wildbase at Massey University where it was discovered he had ‘grass burrs’ in the roof of his mouth. 

They were removed and his appetite quickly recovered.

He’s back in the Pukaha reserve and we’ll continue to keep an eye on him.
New website!
A refreshed website went live at the end of February and staff at the reserve are really pleased with the new look. Have a look at
Two key areas focused on were ensuring that opening hours and prices are clearly stated on the front page, along with “where we are” directions. They have made this website mobile friendly as more people are using mobile devices such as iPads and smartphones to make decisions about where to go and what to do.
If you have any feedback email - This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.


Published in Issue 159
Tagged under
Monday, 22 July 2019 13:11

Million dollar project for Pukaha Mt Bruce

A state of the art walk through aviary is one step closer for Pukaha after receiving a grant of $250,000 from Trust House Foundation.

This grant has kick started fundraising for the $1.1 million project designed to provide visitors to Pukaha with an exciting experience – allowing them to get closer to native bird life and flora and fauna. 

Construction of the project is due to commence in May 2015 with completion expected in November 2015.

This is a substantial grant from Trust House Foundation who have long been a key supporter of Pukaha Mount Bruce.

This walk through aviary will give visitors an amazing experience, providing a greater understanding of New Zealand’s precious flora and fauna and how we, as individuals and collectively can play our part in its protection.

The proposed aviary has been designed by the Pukaha Mount Bruce Board in collaboration with Fabric Structures Ltd, who built The Cloud in Auckland Viaduct; Boffa Miskall Landscape Architects and Rigg Zschokke Ltd. 
Pukaha also received assistance from Healesville Sanctuary in Victoria, Australia and the Department of Conservation. To be built on site near the current blue duck aviaries, it will be 40 metres long by 20 metres wide and is expected to house at least eight different species of native birds.

Spring arrival at Pukaha

A nice surprise for spring - three Whio eggs were laid. Staff will carefully look after them in the brooder room and hope for another clutch soon.

Staff  are also keeping a close eye on five male kiwi who are sitting on eggs in the forest and hoped to bring in the first kiwi chick of the season. While they had intended to bring it in as an egg and hatch it in their nursery, the burrow was too deep for the egg to be safely taken out without damaging the burrow.

Keep right up-to-date with all new hatchings and events on the facebook page -


Published in Issue 161
Sunday, 31 March 2019 21:43

Pukaha releases shore plovers

Four juvenile shore plovers (tuturuatu) were released on to Motutapu island in early February. 
The birds, which are critically endangered and number about 250 in the world, are endemic to New Zealand and among the world’s rarest shore birds. 
Pūkaha Mount Bruce National Wildlife Centre in the northern Wairarapa, which released the birds, hopes to release 21 more by the end of March. 
“This season has been very full on,” says Mireille Hicks, lead shore plover ranger at Pūkaha. “Together with the Isaac Conservation and Wildlife Trust, 
this would be our most successful year yet. Between us we have so far raised 46 shore plover chicks – and there are more on the way. 
“We have seven breeding pairs in total, two of which are breeding in their first season, which is incredible. We also have a breeding pair that was very unexpected as the male had an injured wing and the female had an issue with her feathers. 
“Due to these injuries they could not be released into the wild but by breeding in captivity, they are contributing to the survival of their species.”
Motutapu Island in the Hauraki Gulf is the site of the world’s largest pest eradication programme and is home to the saddleback (tīeke).
“The shore plover is a very special bird because it’s naturally very curious, but it nests on the ground and is very small – it almost ‘shakes hands’ with predators,” Mireille says. 
“They are also very nervous birds and can be easily frightened away from their nests. Many people do not know about how critical the situation is which is something we’d like to change. Each bird is precious.”
Last year, Pūkaha released six juveniles hatched from five pairs on to Waikawa Island. The Shore Plover Recovery Programme began at Pūkaha in the early 1980s. 


Published in Issue 176
Monday, 19 March 2018 20:06

Kiwi deaths at Pukaha

Kiwi deaths at Pukaha
We are saddened to let you know that we are currently dealing with a suspected ferret incursion at Pukaha with the death of 7 kiwi (3 juvenile and 4 adult) since March 2015. The juvenile kiwi deaths include the two white kiwi hatched in the wild in February this year. 
The Department of Conservation, which looks after predator control at Pukaha, has stepped up its trapping regime and consulted a number of experts, both within DoC and the wider predator control community, to ensure everything possible is being done to stop this predation event. This includes changing the type of bait in traps and the frequency that the traps are serviced.
While this event is without doubt a setback, we are confident that the predator control programme in place throughout the reserve and in the buffer zone around it will continue to make our unfenced reserve as safe as possible for our birds.
While the programme gives kiwi and other native species the best possible start, we cannot ensure their complete safety and have to accept that there will always be losses.
The sad loss of these kiwi has been a blow to our staff and the Pukaha community. Kiwi have a precarious existence and there will always be loss of life as has been seen in fenced and unfenced predator-protected reserves in New Zealand.  It makes us even more determined to continue with our long-term aim of a self-sustaining kiwi population at Pukaha.
Since the Pukaha Forest Restoration project  began in 2002, 3 endangered native bird species have been successfully reintroduced and are thriving – North Island Brown Kiwi, North Island Kaka and North Island Kokako.
We are grateful for your ongoing support.
Helen Tickner General Manager.
Published in Issue 164
Tagged under
Friday, 09 March 2018 21:04

Takahe – a very special bird

First Takahe egg in 20 years
Pukaha Mt Bruce National Wildlife Centre staff were quite amazed last year when after more than 20 years of no takahe laying eggs in the lower North Island wildlife centre, staff were surprised to find the mother sitting on an egg. Two eggs were finally laid in October last year.

The mother takahe was believed to be past breeding age, but she was sitting on an egg.
Takahe are endangered native birds with a population of only 327, including 100 breeding pairs.Todd Jenkinson said there are now 347 takahe around the country. They are endangered native birds and include 100 breeding pairs.

The Takahe were originally confined to Fiordland west of Lake Te Anau. They have a head and neck of iridescent indigo blue with back and tail olive green, with white under the tail, scarlet and pink beak, red legs and feet. You will know one if you ever see one.

Even though the Pukaha staff had assumed the 13-year-old Fomi would not have any more offspring, they were hoping the egg would produce a chick. The team were keeping a close eye on development and hoping the egg would produce a chick.

If the chick had hatched at the centre it would be the first Takahe chick hatched there in two decades.
Published in Issue 174
Friday, 23 February 2018 21:41

Lots of babies at Pukaha Mt Bruce

The Wairarapa breeding programme is going very well at Pukaha Mt Bruce. The Shore Plover programme has hatched 22 healthy chicks so far this year with five pairs now sitting on their third clutch.

The two pair of pateke are nesting again having so far successfully reared 12 ducklings between them. 

The whio pair has three ducklings and there are three juvenile kiwi in the creche nearly ready for release as well as a kiwi chick hatched on Christmas Eve and one kiwi egg externally pipped and will hatch any day.

One red-crowned kakariki pair have three chicks to look after while another pair are waiting for their five eggs to hatch. 

Wild kaka have this year utilised three of the nesting boxes with one pair already fledged and another three chicks not far behind.

Published in Issue 166
Friday, 23 February 2018 20:12

Pukaha Mt Bruce ups the anti on Predators

New self re-setting traps for Pukaha

Pukaha has been looking at a wider range of options for predator control in the reserve and the surrounding buffer zone. Then thanks to a generous donation from Pub Charity, they were able to purchase a number of A24 self resetting stoat and rat traps.

You can check them out at

The initial consignment of traps are for their buffer zone provided by the Greater Wellington Regional Council and are also near the aviaries at the Visitor Centre. This February they will be rolling out these devices into their ‘front face’ to supplement the current DoC 250 traps.

The total number of rats caught in the 12 month period September 2014 - September 2015 in both the reserve and buffer zone was 1530. The number of mustelids (weasels, stoats and ferrets) was 104.

Pukaha are continuing to look at innovative predator control techniques and will keep supporters updated on progress.


Concrete, concrete and more concrete was the order of the day when the footing was laid for the  new free flight aviary. The construction was underway thanks to the teams at Rigg-Zschokke Ltd and Higgins Contractors, The team at Puckaha Mt Bruce were hoping that all going to plan they are aiming for an opening date in late February 2016.

Published in Issue 166
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