There were around 50 people watching with anticipation as 10 little birds flew in to their new home at Bushy Park.

The endangered hihi (stitchbird) were transported from Tiritiri Matangi Island in the Hauraki Gulf to the Whanganui sanctuary and released on Sunday morning.

"Despite terrible weather over the past week, we have managed to catch the agreed number of birds and get them safely off the island," said Bushy Park manager Mandy Brooke.

The birds were transported to Whanganui by "translocation guru" Dr Kevin Parker.


"I transport them at night when they tend to be sleeping and the car is air-conditioned, has very good suspension and the windows are darkened so they experience minimal distress," he said.

A new arrival gets her first look at her new Bushy Park home. Photo/Bevan Conley.
A new arrival gets her first look at her new Bushy Park home. Photo/Bevan Conley.

Most of the hihi flew in to the bush and disappeared but Ms Brooke said they would soon locate the well-stocked feeder nearby.

"They were fed this morning to buffer them for their day ahead exploring the forest.

"It is our hope that these birds will thrive and breed with the current hihi population at Bushy Park and increase the genetic diversity."

The aim is see the park overflowing with hihi and it is hoped the reintroduction will be as successful as those of the toutouwai (North Island robin) and tieke (saddlleback) have been.

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The hihi translocation was funded by Forest and Bird and Ms Brooke said it was also a pleasure to announce that the Department of Conservation has approved funding for Bushy Park's Halo Project.

"This project is to increase protection for birds overflowing from Bushy Park's protected forest into the surrounding landscape.


"We have three year's funding for traps and a contractor and we are looking forward to engaging with surrounding landowners as possible support for this project."

Ms Brooke also mentioned the Great Hihi Sperm Race - a project run by Otago University research fellow Helen Taylor.

To find out more about the project visit hihispermrace

Photo/Bevan Conley
Photo/Bevan Conley