Kākāpō have returned to the mainland!

We’ve been proud to be National Partner of the Kākāpō Recovery Programme since 2016 and we’re thrilled that between June and September, 10 male kākāpō have been released at Sanctuary Mountain Maungatautari. This move marks over 30 years since kākāpō were last seen on mainland Aotearoa.

Kākāpō close shot

On the 19th of July, four kākāpō were released at Sanctuary Mountain – Maungatautari.

Bringing kākāpō back to the mainland is due to the combined efforts of the Department of Conservation, Meridian, Ngāi Tahu, Sanctuary Mountain Maungatautari and local iwi - Ngāti Koroki Kahukura, Raukawa, Ngāti Hauā and Waikato Tainui.

Being part of the conversation work that got us here has been a real demonstration of using our power to make a difference.

"Meridian is very proud to have been involved with DOC and Ngāi Tahu since 2016 on the Kākāpō Recovery Programme. Our combined efforts have been essential for saving this species from extinction and it’s pleasing to see the programme extend to include this new habitat at Sanctuary Mountain Maungatautari."
Neal Barclay, Meridian Chief Executive

Beyond essential funding, our engineers have been able to put the mahi (work) in alongside the kākāpō rangers on predator-free islands to ensure they have fit-for-purpose power systems powered by renewable energy sources. This means incubators, brooders, feed-out gear and huts can run efficiently and give the team the best chance at successfully managing breeding seasons.

We’ve also funded the innovative Smart Egg and our staff have been fortunate enough to join the Kākāpō Recovery team as volunteers on the islands.

Kākāpō in the bush

Bringing kākāpō back to the mainland is a conservation milestone.

Did you know that kākāpō were once widespread across the mainland of New Zealand? But due to predators drastically reducing their numbers, by 1995 there were only 51 known kākāpō left.

This is when the Department of Conservation formed the Kākāpō Recovery Programme, with the aim to bring kākāpō back from the brink of extinction. To protect this taonga species, they’ve lived on predator-free islands run by Kākāpō Recovery and after recent successful breeding seasons, there are now 248 birds!

But with the growth in numbers each breeding season, came the new challenge of finding additional sites for kākāpō to take the pressure off the breeding islands. Fenced sanctuaries were a possible solution, and the team were able to work together with Sanctuary Mountain Maungatautari to create a suitable habitat.

Sanctuary Mountain Maungatautari is what’s known as a mainland ecological island due to its 47km pest-proof fence that encloses a 3,400-hectare mountain. It’s home to some of New Zealand’s rarest and most endangered wildlife, which now includes kākāpō.



Committed to preserving Kākāpō

We’re committed to getting the kākāpō off the endangered list and back to their former natural range – can you help?
Kakapo eating berries