Chatham Island tūī conservation
Largely confined to Rangatira and Pitt Islands, the Chatham Island tūī has recently been restored to Chatham Island. The population on Rangatira is about 250 birds. The size of the Pitt Island population is unknown, but it appears that most of the breeding takes place on Rangatira.
They are the only remaining honey eater on the Chatham Islands, following the extinction of the Chatham Island bellbird in the early 1900s.
The main causes of decline are likely to be the loss of habitat, and predation by feral cats, rodents and possums. DOC is focussed on keeping the offshore island habitats of the Chatham Island tūī free of rodents and other predators.
In March 2009 DOC assisted the Taiko Trust to translocate 14 juvenile Chatham Island tūī from Rangatira Island to Chatham Island. Not only did all 14 survive, but they started breeding in the spring of 2009.
This transfer proved to be a huge success. The tūī remained to breed and formed the centre of a permanent population, and tūī have begun to spread across the Chatham Islands.
The enthusiasm and support among locals was outstanding. It was the first major community-led project in the Chathams, and emphasised how much community conservation trusts can achieve.
The trust and DOC are continuing work to assist tūī recovery to a wider area. This includes advocating for the protection of forest, and reducing predator numbers in reserves around the Chatham Island.
Find out more about the work of the Taiko Trust.
You can help
If you are travelling to the Chatham Islands, or transporting goods or livestock there, be careful that you don't introduce pest animals and plants or diseases. These could threaten the flora and fauna in this unique environment.
Report sightings of tūī on Chatham Island to DOC.
Call 0800 DOC HOT (0800 362 468) immediately if you see anyone catching, harming or killing native wildlife.
Help protect our native birds
When visiting parks, beaches, rivers, and lakes
- Only take dogs to areas that allow them, and keep them under control.
- Check your gear for mice and rats when visiting pest-free islands.
- Leave nesting birds alone.
- Use available access ways to get to the beach.
- Avoid leaving old fishing lines on beaches or in the sea.
- Follow the water care code and local navigation bylaws.
- Don't drive on riverbeds, or keep to formed tracks if you have to.
Other ways to help
- Get your dog trained in avian awareness.
- Volunteer with DOC or other groups to control predators and restore bird habitats.
- Set traps for stoats or rats on your property. Get more information from your local DOC office.
- Put a bell on your cat's collar, feed it well, and keep it indoors at dusk/dawn and at night.