Kokako Management

How to protect kokako
The main threats to native birds living in trees are climbing animals such as possums, ship rats and stoats. Of these, possums and ship rats have been identified through research as the major predators of kokako. They prevent the birds from breeding by eating both eggs and chicks. While the kokako female can put up a fight, she cannot prevent them from relentlessly killing her young.

Although cats, dogs, ferrets and other animals constitute a serious threat to ground-dwelling birds, like the kiwi, these animals do not significantly impact kokako numbers.


In a nutshell, you protect Kokako
by killing rats and possums.

Pest control
Pest control carried out prior to the nesting season enables kokako to breed successfully. The main targets of pest control are possums and ship rats. Toxic baits are used to control these animal pests, which they eat from bait stations.

The Trust has established a large track network with around 550 bait stations located throughout the forest. Up to 60 dedicated volunteers provide the manpower to maintain these tracks and fill the bait stations.

Stoats are also recognised as an important pest and these animals are trapped.


Notification of ground based 1080 operation at Kaharoa Conservation Area

(access at end of Kapukapu and Kaharoa Roads)

Sodium fluoroacetate (1080) in cereal bait pellets will be manually placed in bait stations in the Kaharoa Conservation Area on Saturday 24 September 2016.

Any remaining bait will be removed by 8 October 2016.

This operation is being carried out by the Kaharoa Kokako Trust for the purpose of reducing possum and rat numbers.

Dogs are not allowed in the Conservation Area. Any dogs scavenging possum or rat carcasses in or near the area between  September 2016 and February 2017 could incur secondary poisoning.

The presence of warning signs indicates that pesticide residues may still be present. 

Kokako numbers
In 1997 there were 26 kokako counted in the Kaharoa Forest, and the numbers were decreasing due to lack of pest control. When an adult census was conducted in 2006 there were 121 adult kokako counted, with a large number of juveniles. These numbers are increasing thanks to ongoing pest control. Our latest census in 2015 counted 173 adults, 77 pairs and 19 singles.

The Kaharoa kokako population is now the fourth largest in New Zealand. It is seen as an important source of birds for restoring kokako numbers in other protected areas as part of a national kokako recovery programme.

Translocations involve moving surplus birds from protected areas into other protected areas. This is an important any of introducing genetic diversity to fragmented populations.

In 2003, two female birds were moved to Lady Alice Island in Northland for Puketi Trust. One of these birds has formed a stable pairing with a local male.

Translocations are managed on a national basis by the Kokako Specialist Group (DOC).