Pāteke/brown teal

Pāteke/brown teal are one of the rarest native waterfowl found on mainland New Zealand.

In May 2017 20 pāteke were blessed by Manawhenua ki Mohua and released on the lower Awapoto River at Hadfield Clearing, Awaroa Inlet.  By December there was exciting news with two clutches of six ducklings spotted on a camera placed near a feeder on the river – proof the extensive predator control in the area is successful in keeping stoat and feral cat numbers down.

The birds all have transmitters and DOC rangers regularly monitor them, they have been spotted as far away as the Awaroa Lodge and Totaranui. The success of the release meant 70 more pāteke were released in 2018.

Pāteke are found in only one other South Island mainland location, the Arthur Valley in Fiordland. They can be distinguished from other ducks by their white eye-ring. We need help from the public in this area to protect the birds.  A single dog or cat can kill many pāteke so dogs must be kept under control and please report any sightings of cats. Also, take care driving near the Awaroa inlet.

Watch our video about the pāteke release:


Project Janszoon began releasing kaka into the Abel Tasman in 2015.

A few male kaka are believed to still be present in the Park but the females are typically killed by predators while on the nest. To help develop the population eight female kaka have been translocated to the Park, in two different releases.  These kaka have been intensively monitored and four remain in the Abel Tasman, within a few kilometres of the release site at Wainui Hut.  A fifth bird was last seen near Takaka and the other three have died, one from lead poisoning.

These kaka came from captive breeding populations in the South Island but there is a desire to release more birds that are genetically aligned to the northern South Island.

In late 2015 wild fledgling kaka were harvested from Nelson Lakes National Park and three male birds are now being raised at Nelson’s Natureland Zoo.  If there is a beech seeding in 2017 the captive breeding programme will be boosted on three fronts.  The plan is to harvest chicks from Nelson Lakes and the Wangapeka in Kahurangi National Park.  The four females released into the Abel Tasman will also be closely monitored to see if they breed in the wild.

Watch the video about the first kaka release here

Photo Dr Ruth Bollongino

Kaka release Dec 2015 Ruth B

Saddleback / tieke

The Abel Tasman Birdsong Trust released 40 South Island saddleback (tieke) to Motuareronui / Adele Island in September 2014.

South Island saddleback nearly faced extinction back in the 1960's and there are still only 650 left.  The bird belongs to an ancient group that includes the endangered kokako and the extinct huia.

Project Janszoon ornithologist Pete Gaze co-ordinated the release and lead a team, including members of the Abel Tasman Birdsong Trust, which caught the birds on Motuara Island in the Marlborough Sounds.

The birds are extremely vulnerable to predation and are only able to be reintroduced to Adele Island because of the work DOC and the Abel Tasman Birdsong Trust have done to remove predators from Adele Island. Since the release un-banded tieke have been seen on the island proving the birds have bred since their release.

Photo Brent McGlashen

Saddleback release Sep 2014 Brent McGlashen

Robin / toutouwai

After an estimated 30 year absence from the mainland coastal track 50 robin / toutouwai were transferred from Motuareronui Adele Island to Pitt Head in April 2016 by the Abel Tasman Birdsong Trust.

Robin are found in the higher altitude regions of the Park and were once common around Anchorage and Torrent Bay.  The ATBT re-introduced the birds to Motuareronui Island in 2009 and they flourished in the predator free environment.

In 2012 the ATBT set up a network of around 200 Goodnature A24 resetting rat traps over 130ha from Pitt Head to Watering Cove.   Project Janszoon funded the trapping network and given its success in supressing rats in the area it was decided the birds would have a good chance to re-establish on the mainland.

Project Janszoon provided logistical support for the transfer and has been involved in monitoring the birds after the relocation. After 3 months eight of the birds were still seen in the area but monitoring four months later found no trace of them. 

It is not uncommon for robins to disperse after translocations but this was a disappointing result.  Monitoring on Motuareronui Adele Island is planned to see if the birds have returned there and once this has been established decisions will be made about whether further robin translocations to the mainland should be undertaken.


Photo Dave Buckton / One Shot

Robin Barker releases Dave Buckton



Thirty eight kakariki have been released into the Park from our purpose built aviary at Wainui Hut since 2014.

You can watch the video about the first release here

As part of Project Janszoon’s work to re-introduce kakariki to the Park there are now four aviaries in Nelson and Marlborough breeding the yellow crowned parakeet on our behalf.

Lochmara Lodge, Wildlife Recovery and Arts Centre, Queen Charlotte Sound

Lochmara Lodge has been breeding kakariki for Project Janszoon since 2013 and as of June 2015 have bred 22 kakariki that have been released back into the Park.

The aviary is in a beautiful location and currently has three breeding pairs.  Interestingly the yellow crowned parakeet were initially housed in an aviary next to red crowned kakariki but moving the different species away from each other improved breeding success.

Yellow crowned parakeet tagging sep 2013 Long Is

Ecoworld Aquarium, Picton

Ecoworld at Picton have been breeding kakariki since April 2014 and currently have three breeding pairs. 

The breeding aviary is part of the work of the EcoWorld Trust which was established by John Reuhman in 2004 to encourage studies in science, heritage and education.  The birds are not on public display.

Ecoworld’s first three chicks will be released into the Park in Spring 2015.

Kakariki chick from Lochmara 20 days old

Tui Nature Reserve,  Waitata Reach - Marlborough Sound

The Tui Nature Reserve aviaries are surrounded by native bush and volunteers and interns help collect native flora every day so the kakariki enjoy a real native smorgasboard.

They have been breeding kakariki for Project Janszoon since April 2014 and their goal is to have three breeding pairs.  The first five chicks will be released into the Park in Spring 2015.

Kakariki Tui 2 April copy

Natureland Wildlife Trust

The Natureland Wildlife Trust is located at Natureland Zoo at Tahunanui in Nelson.  It is dedicated to environmental preservation and conservation of endangered species through involvement in captive breeding.

Natureland began breeding kakariki for Project Janszoon in April 2015.  The first clutch of eggs was laid in June and is currently being watched intently.

Nelson Host Lions Club members spent more than 300 hours building a new aviary to house the birds and there are currently two breeding pairs.   You can view the birds arrival on this video: