Tiri Tiri Matangi & Pureora Forest Park, New Zealand

Subject: Tiri Tiri Matangi & Pureora Forest Park, New Zealand
From: Gil Langfield <>
Date: Sun, 20 May 2001 09:42:11 +1000
I had a day trip to Tiri Tiri Matangi island, close to Auckland in early May. Details on how to get there are on the Tiri Tiri Matangi Supporters' web site - (You can apparently stay overnight if you want to see Little Spotted Kiwi).

I was looking for the Stichbird and there were lots of them, especially on the Kawerau Track and also on the Wattle Track. Other NZ endemics seen on the island were Red-crowned Parakeet (not really endemic as it is also on Norfolk Island), lots of Saddlebacks, Tui, New Zealand Robin, Whitehead, Bellbird, New Zealand Pigeon and Takahes walking around the Supporters' shop. Apparently there are also about 10 Kokakos on the island. There is a seat near the wharf end of the Wattle track where the Kokakos and other birds come down to a small water trough opposite to drink or bathe. I sat there for a short time but did not see any, although someone had seen one half an hour before I arrived.

There was a posting to Birding Oz in 1997 in which, among other info, Paul Fennell gave details of an area on the North Island where he saw Kokako. This is Pureora Forest Park, on Highway 30 between Benneydale and Whakamaru. The sign posting has improved over the last 4 years and the Forest Tower from which the birds were seen is easy to find. Again, there is a web site with maps whose name is too long ( - just search for Pureora in New Zealand using a search engine.

I spent about 3 hours at the tower (watching the rain) from about 1030 one Saturday and then 3.5 hours without rain from 0700 on the Sunday. The bird only gives its evocative call at dawn which is why I was there so early. I heard a call which I thought at the time might have been the Kokako, but later was able to download a call from the Internet and then decided I had heard a different call of the Tui or Bellbird. I did not see the bird and presume that it is no longer in the area. A DOC web site suggests that there are only 400 pairs left in the wild and therefore you would have to be lucky to see it.

Nice birds seen at Pureora included New Zealand Robin and Pigeon, Tui, Kaka, Rifleman, Yellow-crowned Parakeet and Whitehead.

On the way back to New Plymouth, I stopped for coffee at Pio Pio and remembered that this was the Maori name for one of the New Zealand endemics. I looked up Heather and Robertson to find that it was the New Zealand Thrush, last recorded in 1902.


Gil Langfield
Melbourne, Australia

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