AGM 2019

Date posted: 09-Sep-2019

Our Annual General Meeting was held at 7:30 pm on Monday 23rd September at the F..

More plaudits for Tiritiri Matangi

Date posted: 15-Jul-2019

Recognition of the wonderful experience visitors have when visiting the Island h..

Results of the 2019 Photo Competition

Date posted: 15-Jul-2019

The results of this year's competition have now been decided. Click here (/2019-photo-co..

Lighthouse Open Day

Date posted: 30-Apr-2019

Our historic lighthouse, signal station and diaphonic foghorn will all be on dis..

We need a new Treasurer

Date posted: 08-Apr-2019

The Supporters need a new treasurer to take over in September when Kevin Vaughan..

2019 Concert

Date posted: 05-Feb-2019

OrigiNZ, the tartan taonga are returning for the 2019 concert. Click..

Tiri's three unique foghorns

Date posted: 01-Feb-2019

Our next social event will take place on Monday 18th March when Carl Hayson and ..

Young Conservation Superstars win awards!

Date posted: 27-Jan-2019

Gabriel Barbosa and teacher Kate Asher, a team leader who co..

Entries for the 2019 photo competition

Date posted: 19-Jan-2019

We are now taking entries for the 2019 photographic competition. You can enter u..

Hihi volunteer needed

Date posted: 18-Oct-2018

Would you like to volunteer with the Island's hihi team and learn from them how ..

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.