A reward offered for confirmation the South Island kokako is still alive has been doubled to $10,000.

The initial $5000 reward offered in January by the South Island Kokako Charitable Trust generated 40 reports of possible encounters, and interest from around the world.

The bird was considered extinct until 2013 when credible sightings, including on the West Coast, prompted it to be reclassified.

The trust announced today the Morgan Foundation had matched the $5000 reward.

To claim the $10,000, claimants must provide the evidence needed to confirm the continued existence of the bird.


Morgan Foundation trustee Jessi Morgan said if the move encouraged more people to join the search and enjoy native forests, "we'll be delighted with the outcome".

Mohua Investments put up the initial $5000 and director Nigel Babbage said there was nothing he would like more than to present someone with a cheque for $5000 because their evidence led to confirmation that the South Island kokako is still out there.

"From the reports I have heard and speaking to some of the people who have reported seeing the bird, I am convinced that it is still alive. Those reports have come from Stewart Island, Fiordland, South Westland and all the way up to Kahurangi National Park and the Marlborough Sounds.

"I'd like to encourage all back country enthusiasts to be our eyes and ears out there and to log possible encounters on the South Island Kokako Trust's website."

The trust says it will review every report received and then submit any strong evidence received to independent expert analysis. The reward will be paid once a panel of New Zealand's expert ornithologists agrees that the bird exists.

- Greymouth Star