Primary School Science Conservation 2020 Award

Date posted: 18-Dec-2020

Dylan Lewis Y7 from Mahurangi College, Warkworth, being presented with the ..

Supporters of Tiritiri Inc and Fullers 360 Science Conservation 2020 Award

Date posted: 18-Dec-2020

The NIWA Auckland City Science and Technology Fair winner of the Supporters of Tiritiri ..

2020 Conservation Week

Date posted: 12-Aug-2020

Meet the Takahē on Tiritiri Matangi Island When: 1:30 pm, ..

AGM 2020

Date posted: 25-Jul-2020

PLEASE NOTE CHANGE OF DATE TO WEDNESDAY 21ST OCTOBER 2020 due to Covid restrictions at t..

Ferry Resuming July 4th!

Date posted: 01-Jun-2020

Great News!!! We have confirmation Fuller360 ferry service to Tiritiri Matangi wi..

The 2020 Photo Competition Winners

Date posted: 22-May-2020

Here are the winning and commended photos from this year's competition. Congratulations to the photo..

Celebrate the Takahe Art Competition

Date posted: 08-Apr-2020

Hi Tiri Kids, It’s Takahē Awareness Month! Everyone loves our takah..

COVID-19 Important Information

Date posted: 25-Mar-2020

The government has announced that New Zealand is now at alert level 2 for COVID-19. Th..

2019 Winner Primary School Supporters of Tiritiri and Fullers 360 Science Award is Ethan Raymond

Date posted: 11-Mar-2020

Ethan has helped the Enviro-Warriors in many ways such as planning, gard..

2019 Winner Y8-Y13 NIWA Supporters of Tiritiri and Fullers 360 Science Award is Abby Haezelwood

Date posted: 11-Mar-2020

Abby Haezelwood with her winning Science Exhibit on Plastic Beaches at the NIWA Taihoro Nuk..

Red-crowned Parakeet

Scientific name:

 Cyanoramphus novaezeleandiae novaezeleandiae

Maori Name:




Conservation status

 At risk - relict

Mainland status:

 Rare on both North and South Island


 28cm, 80g (males), 25cm, 70g (females)


 Not known


 October – December (relaying to March)


 Mainly plant material, small invertebrates

First introduced to Tiri:

 1974 (35 in 1974, 22 in 1975, 27 in 1976)

Population on Tiri:

 Several hundred

Total population:

 Abundant on island reserves

Kakariki - photographer: Simon FordhamThe Red-crowned parakeet, commonly known by its Maori name kākāriki, is a long tailed bright green parrot with a red crown and forehead and a band of red which extends from the bill through the eye and beyond. It has crimson rump patches and bright blue on its wing coverts and some outer flight feathers.

Kākāriki have a rapid, direct flight, usually above the canopy and often accompanied by a rapid loud chatter: "ki-ki-ki-ki-ki". When feeding they may babble, or else are silent.

Kākāriki are very rare in the North Island, though this wasn't always the case. They were common in the 1880s but introduced predators such as feral cats, stoats and ship rats decimated the population. They are even rarer on the South Island, but are widespread on Stewart Island and many predator-free island reserves, including Tiritiri Matangi.  

Kākāriki eat a wide variety of plant seeds (particularly flax), fruit, berries, buds, shoots and flowers, as well as nectar and small invertebrates. They often feed on the ground rather than in the canopy, making them susceptible to mammalian predators.

Kakariki - photographer: Peter CrawRed-crowned parakeets make their nests in holes in branches and trunks, or at ground level, usually amongst dense vegetation. Occasionally they interbreed with the yellow-crowned parakeet, another sub-species even rarer than the red-crowned parakeet. They live in pairs, male and female staying together all year round, and often joining other pairs and their young. In the autumn and winter they form small flocks. They are non-migratory, though they are capable of flying long distances, usually when searching for food or fresh water. Kākāriki from Tiritiri Matangi have flown to the Shakespear Regional Park on the tip of the Whangaparaoa Peninsula, a distance of about four kilometres, and have established a breeding population there. 

The red-crowned parakeet was the first bird to be introduced to Tiritiri Matangi. Soon after the Island became part of the Hauraki Gulf Maritime Park in 1971, permits were obtained for the Wildlife Service to release kākāriki on Cuvier Island and Tiritiri Matangi. About thirty captive-reared birds were flown from Mount Bruce National Wildlife Centre to Ardmore Airport in South Auckland. The Cuvier-bound birds were then driven to Whitianga, but the boat that was to have taken them to Cuvier was not there, so they were driven back to Auckland. Unfortunately some birds died on this hot and stressful journey. After a few days in an aviary to recover, the survivors were released on Tiritiri Matangi. This was in January 1974, 10 years before planting started. It was a small article in the NZ Herald reporting the kākāriki release that prompted John Craig to investigate the Island as a place to do research. More kākāriki were released in 1975 and ’76.

Although there is now a thriving population on the Island, some of them lose a lot of feathers at certain times of the year, especially in the spring. There has been speculation about whether this is caused by mites, by a condition called 'beak and feather disease', or simply by a pre-breeding moult. During 2011-13, this problem has been investigated as part of a PhD project.

Learn more about the red-crowned parakeet at New Zealand Birds Online.

Photography by:  Peter Craw © (left) and Simon Fordham © (right)

References: Heather, B.D.; Robertson, H.A. 2000 The Field Guide to the Birds of New Zealand. Auckland, Viking. Rimmer, A. 2004, Tiritiri Matangi: A model of conservation, Random House.