There might be less people flying around the country, but a plane carrying 49 rare pāteke made a special flight to Nelson, as part of the journey to their new home in the Abel Tasman National Park.
Pāteke, or brown teal, were once widespread throughout New Zealand but are now one of the country’s rarest waterfowl species, with the Department of Conservation estimating there are 2000 – 2500 birds left in the wild.
Despite Covid-19 restrictions and reduced air capacity, the special cargo landed at Nelson Airport last week.
After being blessed at the airport by Archdeacon Harvey Ruru of Te Ātiawa the birds were driven to the Abel Tasman National Park and released on the Awapoto River at dusk.
Since 2017, Project Janszoon, the Department of Conservation and local iwi have released 288 pāteke in the Abel Tasman National Park, which is one of only two South Island pāteke sites.