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..


Scientific name:

 Prosthemadera novaeseelandiae novaeseelandiae



Conservation status:

 Endemic. Not threatened

Mainland status:

 Common throughout NZ

Size:  30cm, 120g (males), 90g (females)


 Oldest recorded 12+ Years


 September - January


 Mainly nectar and fruit, some invertebrates

Status on Tiritiri Matangi:  Abundant

The tūī is a member of the honeyeater family, and as such has a curved bill and a long tongue, frayed at the end like a brush, which is used to reach deep into flowers and drink nectar. Like the other New Zealand honeyeater, the bellbird, they feed on a mixture of nectar, fruit, and insects. 

Tūī are the dominant honeyeater in New Zealand, being aggressive and pugnacious, which accounts for their successful survival on the mainland throughout NZ. They vigorously chase other tūī and other species from their feeding and breeding territories, which they strongly defend. They are often seen diving vertically at great speed when chasing birds.

The tūī is a dark coloured bird, almost black at first glance, but is in fact an iridescent green with a reddish brown back. It has two white throat tufts forming a bib under its chin. The neck has a lacy white collar of very fine white feathers.

The tūī has a very noisy whirring flight which is very fast, swooping and undulating. It controls the sound of its flight using a notch on one of its primary feathers. It has a variety of calls, consisting of rich, fluid, melodious notes intermixed with croaks, coughs, clicks, grunts, wheezes, squeaks, buzzes and chuckles. They are often heard to mimic other species.

Tūī have always existed on Tiritiri Matangi and the population continues to grow every year. Many of them form loose flocks in the winter and fly to winter feeding sites, sometimes as far as 20 kms away, returning in the summer. They quickly take over any flowering tree, especially kōwhai, five-finger or rewarewa, keeping other birds away if they can. Visitors to the Island are given excellent views of tūī competing for position at the sugar feeder at the Visitor Centre.

Find out more about tūī at New Zealand Birds Online.

Photography by:  Peter Craw © (Tui on mānuka - top right), Max McRae © (Tui on flax, bottom left)

References: Heather, B.D.; Robertson, H.A. 2000 The Field Guide to the Birds of New Zealand. Auckland, Viking.