Bring Back Bellbirds


The ARC is leading an ambitious conservation project to bring bellbirds (korimako) back to the islands of the Hauraki Gulf.

Four releases of bellbirds this Sunday will see up to 200 of the delicate olive-green birds, with their distinctive bell-like song, translocated from Tawharanui Regional Park and Tiritiri Matangi Island sanctuary.

They will be released on two sites on Waiheke Island, on Motuihe Island and in the Hamilton Gardens.

Bellbirds have been absent from the northern New Zealand mainland, including Auckland and large Gulf islands, since the mid-1800’s when ship rats and stoats arrived in New Zealand. Current Auckland strongholds are limited to pest-free islands and the Tawharanui mainland island sanctuary.

The public can see the releases on Sunday.

  • Whakanewha Regional Park, Waiheke Island, 11am. Meet at the conservation car park for the 10 minute walk to the release site.
  • Fenwick Reserve release will take place at the same time as the Whakanewha Regional Park release.
  • Motuihe Island, ferry departs 8am and 10am

Bellbirds have been absent since the mid-1800s

Bellbirds are an important bird in forest ecology for their role as a native plant pollinator.

They are also famous for their melodic singing. You can see their singing here

ARC Chairman Michael Lee has championed this visionary project and says the project calling it very complex.

“A transformational leap in restoring these long lost birds to the islands of the inner Hauraki Gulf and the northern New Zealand mainland – from where they have been absent for 150 years.”

The Tawharanui and Tiritiri Matangi bellbirds will be released in batches of up to 50 at Whakanewha Regional Park and Fenwick Reserve on Waiheke Island, Motuihe Island in the Hauraki Gulf and Hamilton Gardens in the Waikato.




  1. Selwyn Osborne says:

    As a self-confessed public transit geek who is also passionate about conservation, it’s great to see this item, which was indeed news to me.

  2. Jon C says:

    @Selwyn It is a wonderful thing. Mike Lee is very passionate about it.


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