Two new endangered takahe have joined the established group already living at Tawharanui Open Sanctuary.

An informal ceremony took place at Tawharanui Regional Park today for sanctuary supporters and partners to celebrate.

Open sanctuary senior ranger Matt Maitland says this is another great day for Auckland Council's first open sanctuary.

"Ten takahe were released here in October last year. They are thriving in their new home and are often seen and enjoyed by park visitors."

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Councillor Christine Fletcher, Chair of council's Parks, Recreation and Sport Committee said these new additions are a strong commitment to conservation.

"The Takahe Recovery Programme is focused on increasing the number of breeding pairs at safe sites to ensure takahe are safe from extinction. Auckland Council is pleased and honoured that Tawharanui has been selected as a secure site."

Tawharanui Open Sanctuary supporters watch Kikorango the takahe released into his new home at Tawharanui Regional Park. Photo: Justine Sanderson, TOSSI
Tawharanui Open Sanctuary supporters watch Kikorango the takahe released into his new home at Tawharanui Regional Park. Photo: Justine Sanderson, TOSSI

The arrival of the takahe is a carefully managed event, from ensuring the birds are carefully captured, transported to the airport, flown safely to Auckland care of Air New Zealand and transferred up to Tawharanui.

"It will be a busy day for everyone involved, but very rewarding once we welcome them on to the site," says Matt.

The two new arrivals from Mana Island are a further step towards housing an estimated 10 pairs that the sanctuary could hold. TOSSI volunteers will monitor the new takahe, along with the current birds, to see how they settle in and interact with each other.

"As they are all young birds, no breeding is expected until next spring at the earliest, though current residents have shown signs of pair bonding behaviours," says Matt.

Further releases of takahe at Tawharanui are planned in the next year as birds are moved in accordance with the national recovery programme.

"Tawharanui is a valuable resource for DOC's Takahe Recovery Programme, alleviating the pressure to provide safe breeding territories."

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