2021 Photo Competition

Date posted: 21-Jan-2021

2021 Photo Competition Now Open It is that time of year again when we are look..

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..


Scientific name:

 Porphyrio hochstetteri



Conservation status:

 Endemic. Nationally critical

Mainland status:

 c. 130 in Murchison Mountains


 63cm, 3kg 


 14 - 20 Years


 October - December


 Grasses, fern rhizomes, snow tussocks

First introduced to Tiri:

 2 birds in 1991

Population on Tiri:

 4 pairs and a variable number of chicks and/or young adults depending on time of year

Total population:



Takahe - photographer: Simon Fordham
Belonging to the same family as the successful pūkeko, the takahē, sadly not so successful, was thought to be extinct until the rediscovery of c. 250 birds in the Murchison Mountains of Fiordland in 1948. Since then their numbers surviving in the wild have declined, fluctuating between 110 and 160 birds. 

The takahē has brown eyes, a scarlet red bill and shield, red legs and feet. The plumage ranges from an iridescent dark blue head, neck and breast and peacock blue shoulders to olive green and blue back and wings. They do have wings despite being flightless. The juveniles have a black bill and black plumage.

They form persistent, sometimes life-long, pairs and stray from their permanent territories only in winter in search of food, usually returning to the same territories in the summer. In the wild, takahē live in high-altitude hidden valleys, feeding on snow tussocks and on fern rhizomes. On the offshore islands and mainland sanctuaries to which they have been introduced, they survive on grasses and fern rhizomes, digesting only the plant juices and not the fibres.

Takahe (Bossy Rossy) - photographer: Max McRae
Takahē pairs call back and forth to each other in duet in a very deep resonant 'kloomph', whilst their normal contact call by day or night is a very loud, weka-like 'cooet'.

The conservation status of the takahē remains critical, despite an intensive programme over many years to try to maximise their numbers. Techniques used have included captive breeding, the removal of eggs from the wild for incubation and hand-rearing (by puppets), and the translocation of takahē to pest-free islands and protected mainland sanctuaries, from where some young birds have been moved back to the wild population in the Murchison Mountains.

Tiritiri Matangi has played its part in this programme. Two takahē, both males (Mr Blue and Stormy), were released on Tiri in 1991, followed by a female (JJ) in 1992. Further releases have occurred since then and many birds have been born on the Island. 

More detailed information about the takahē on Tiritiri Matangi can be found here, and you will find lots of information on takahē at New Zealand Birds Online and on the National Recovery Programme website.

Photography by: 
 Simon Fordham © (top right) and by Max McRae © (bottom left)

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