Hihi Translocation 

 

For the first time in ~130 years, hihi/stitchbird are back in Taranaki! 40 hihi were released into the sanctuary in April, following three years of planning. A very supportive partnership with OMV New Zealand and support from community sponsors allows us to pursue this ambitious reestablishment in Taranaki. Management routines are set-up, with guidance on the ground from Mhairi McCready (hihi expert) who travelled with the birds. Sugar water is provided as a supplementary food, changed regularly by volunteers. Artificial nest boxes are also provided to improve nest monitoring potential. Huge thanks to Ngati Manuhiri, Supporters of Tiritiri Matangi, and the Hihi Recovery Group for their support and blessing. 

A second translocation of 60 hihi occurred in 2018 to top-up numbers for best chance of reintroduction success.  The population has been doing well, with some natural nesting occurring outside the nest boxes around the Reserve. 37 chicks were banded in the 2018-19 breeding season.

 
About the Bird
 
Hihi/stitchbird are one of New Zealand’s rarest and most vulnerable forest birds with a global population of around 3,000, hihi are found in only seven locations across New Zealand. The only natural population left is on Hauturu-o-toi (Little Barrier Island). Hihi roughly translates to 'ray of sunshine' in Māori, alluding to the bright yellow feathers on the male hihi. Translocated hihi populations require supplementary feeding and nest boxes to provide nourishment and shelter to encourage better feeding and breeding.

                               Female hihi                                                                      Male hihi