A kākāpo

Why kākāpō are called kākāpō and other wildlife names

In Aotearoa New Zealand Māori are ‘tangata whenua’ – people of the land. This reflects the importance of te taiao (the environment) to Māori identity, culture, and tikanga.  Te reo Māori is shaped by the unique environment and wildlife. There is a depth of meaning to te reo Māori words. Often a one or two-word … Continue reading Why kākāpō are called kākāpō and other wildlife names

Two kererū perched in a tree.

Time poor? Seven easy ways to join the predator free movement

Want to do your part to protect our native species but can’t find the time? We’ve got some good news, busy people – joining the predator free movement doesn’t have to be complicated or time consuming. Here are seven easy ways to support the predator free movement in 2022: 1. Make your garden attractive to … Continue reading Time poor? Seven easy ways to join the predator free movement

An albatross parent on the nest with its chick

Royal succession: the changing role of human help for the survival of toroa

Rearing royalty takes a team at Pukekura/Taiaroa Head. Since the 1930s, the toroa (northern royal albatross) colony on the Otago Peninsula have had human helpers ensuring their survival. So, how has the management of these toroa evolved? We spoke to Sharyn and Jim – who are part of the team intensively managing these special birds. … Continue reading Royal succession: the changing role of human help for the survival of toroa

Mōhua on a branch.

Where have all the custard-heads gone? 5 facts on our rare mōhua

With the affectionate nickname of custard-head, it should be easy to recognise the mōhua (yellowhead). Their bright yellow plumage donning their heads should be a giveaway, right? Wrong. Did you know mōhua have an avian impersonator? Here we take a look at these fascinating birds, their interesting quirks, and the biggest challenges to their survival. … Continue reading Where have all the custard-heads gone? 5 facts on our rare mōhua

A kea close-up

Brainy, beautiful and beloved: so why are our kea disappearing?

Dubbed ‘the clever clowns of the Alps’, kea are much loved for their cheeky spirit and keen intelligence. So it can be shocking to learn that these fun-loving birds are in serious trouble, with populations in decline. So how did we get to this point? And what can be done to save the kea? A … Continue reading Brainy, beautiful and beloved: so why are our kea disappearing?

Sarah with a kākāpō

IWD2022: kākāpō cartooning with Sarah Little

Self-confessed bird nerd Sarah Little spends most days caring for kākāpo. She’s a Department of Conservation ranger out on predator free island Whenua Hou (Codfish Island) protecting our rare kākāpō from extinction. Even in her spare time, Sarah is creating art with a message. Her popular cartoons are making the predator free movement fun and … Continue reading IWD2022: kākāpō cartooning with Sarah Little

Sara on a boulder in a forest.

IWD2022: protecting Mahakirau with Sara Smerdon

Every day, conservation volunteers like Sara Smerdon work towards getting their patch predator free. But unlike most, Sara lives in the very forest she protects. This International Women’s Day we chatted with Sara who (along with her husband) is one of 24 landowners of The Mahakirau Forest Estate in the Coromandel – a native forest … Continue reading IWD2022: protecting Mahakirau with Sara Smerdon

Rat in some leaf litter

Oh, rats! 5 rodent facts that will shock you

If you still view rats as merely a packet-gnawing, pooping pantry menace, it’s time to take a second look. Rats aren’t simply a nuisance in Aotearoa New Zealand – they’re a rampant threat of extinction proportions.  The introduction and later spread of rats throughout New Zealand has had a devastating impact on our native species. … Continue reading Oh, rats! 5 rodent facts that will shock you

A shining cuckoo being fed by its grey warbler foster parent.

Mystery, migration and mucous membranes: 5 curious facts about the shining cuckoo

A unique summer visitor to Aotearoa, the shining cuckoo (pīpīwharauroa) only graces our shores in the warmer months, migrating to the tropics once our weather starts to turn cooler. But even in this short window of time, they certainly make an impression with their intriguing behaviours. From unusual breeding strategies, to quirky culinary tastes, here … Continue reading Mystery, migration and mucous membranes: 5 curious facts about the shining cuckoo

A titipounamu on a branch.

5 facts you should know about titipounamu

A family of titipounamu (rifleman) have made history recently. For the first time in over 100 years, a pair have raised their 5 chicks in Wellington city outside of Zealandia’s predator-proof fence.  Titipounamu aren’t as well known as our kiwi or kererū, so what is so special about them? Here are 5 facts you should … Continue reading 5 facts you should know about titipounamu

Tūī with a Santa hat on

Our 2021 holiday feel-good gift guide

The holiday season is fast approaching and we have some fantastic gift ideas that our native species will enjoy too!  Essential gifts for the backyard Buy a bird feeder Attract native birds to your garden with this New Zealand designed bird feeder kit.   Nectar-eating birds such as tūī, bellbird, silvereye, kākā and hihi can drink … Continue reading Our 2021 holiday feel-good gift guide

Erin working on a lizard painting in her studio.

Native lizard poster captures illustrators heart

Aotearoa New Zealand might be known as a ‘land of birds’ but we’ve teamed up with local illustrator Erin Forsyth to highlight native lizards in a beautiful new poster He mokomoko nō Aotearoa. Predator Free NZ Trust and Erin aim to raise awareness of Aotearoa’s lizard species, from the little-known Sinbad skink to the raukawa … Continue reading Native lizard poster captures illustrators heart

Children balancing on a fallen log.

5 fun conservation activities for the family

Get your family excited about helping our native species with these easy, practical activities. Whether you’re having a quiet rainy day or you’re looking for an outdoor project to spruce up your garden, we have 5 fun activities that will help the birds, bugs and lizards in your backyard.  We hope you find something you want … Continue reading 5 fun conservation activities for the family

John teaching a predator control workshop

How do you make a habitat safe for kiwi? A Q&A with John Bissell

John Bissell of Save the Kiwi wants quality, not quantity, predator control. “Give me better, not just more,” says John.  John is Save the Kiwi’s National Predator Advisor. He works on projects across the country specialising in high-quality predator control to protect threatened species like kiwi. John is a predator control expert with many years … Continue reading How do you make a habitat safe for kiwi? A Q&A with John Bissell

A group of flying birds.

The godwits have returned: A Q&A with Pūkorokoro Miranda Shorebird Centre

Kuaka/bar-tailed godwits have the right idea. Along with other migratory birds, they enjoy an endless summer.  Each year, as the northern hemisphere’s summer comes to an end, these long-haul experts leave their Alaskan breeding grounds and migrate south. After a non-stop 11,000km flight, Pūkorokoro/Miranda, along the Firth of Thames, is one of the destinations where … Continue reading The godwits have returned: A Q&A with Pūkorokoro Miranda Shorebird Centre

5 reasons why it’s time to join your local trapping group

New Zealanders join trapping groups for a number of reasons. They may want to protect our native species, leave our country in a better state for future generations or they may feel a strong sense of personal responsibility. Beyond the selfless motivations, joining a trapping group can be of great personal benefit. There are hundreds … Continue reading 5 reasons why it’s time to join your local trapping group

A group of school children planting

Fostering the birds of Manukapua: Q&A with Tapora Land & Coast Care Group

Kia Puawai ai ngā taonga o Manukapua (fostering the birds of Manukapua) is the project and kaupapa of the Tapora Land & Coast Care Group. This dedicated group is restoring Manukapua, a special sand dune island that holds cultural, spiritual, historical and ecological significance.  Manukapua, also known as Big Sand Island, is located on the … Continue reading Fostering the birds of Manukapua: Q&A with Tapora Land & Coast Care Group

Backyard Legends: Brad Windust from Bay Bush Action

For 10 years, Brad Windust has been trapping introduced predators in sections of the Ōpua State Forest. The Ōpua State Forest spans 2000 hectares and is a coastal lowland Kāuri forest in the heart of the Bay of Islands. This forest is home to rare flora and fauna populations that are seriously under threat. Introduced … Continue reading Backyard Legends: Brad Windust from Bay Bush Action

Rod standing on a big boulder

Backyard Legends: Rod Morris, Nature Photographer & Conservationist

Rod Morris has been telling stories about our natural history for more than four decades. He’s been a zookeeper, a teacher, an author, and a wildlife ranger. For half of that period, he was a natural-history filmmaker, producing and directing documentaries about some of our best-loved birds – kiwi, kākāpō, kōkako, kea, kakī (black stilt), … Continue reading Backyard Legends: Rod Morris, Nature Photographer & Conservationist

Bridget with some school children

Backyard Legends: Bridget Palmer

‘Whakatāne’s kiwi lady’ Bridget Palmer is dedicated to protecting the environment and saving the North Island brown kiwi. For over 18 years, Bridget was a Conservation Ranger for the Department of Conservation (DOC) working to protect our amazing wildlife and Whakatāne’s reputation as the ‘kiwi capital of the world’.  More recently, Bridget left DOC to … Continue reading Backyard Legends: Bridget Palmer

Kiwi deep in a dark burrow

What is it like running a kiwi crèche? A Q&A with PWT

The Paparoa Wildlife Trust is a small community organisation made up of dedicated locals who are passionate about looking after the roroa (great spotted kiwi) in their backyard.  Since 2006, the Paparoa Wildlife Trust has been running a trapping programme in the southern Paparoa Ranges, north of Greymouth on the West Coast. Today, it is … Continue reading What is it like running a kiwi crèche? A Q&A with PWT

Photographing our lesser-known natives: A Q&A with Sam the animal man

Wildlife photographer Sam Purdie is capturing our lesser-known natives on camera. He hopes that by photographing them, it will raise the awareness of these special and often endangered species. Sam is a self-described ‘animal man’ who has studied zoology and is passionate about all of our native fauna – great and small.  We’re speaking with Sam … Continue reading Photographing our lesser-known natives: A Q&A with Sam the animal man

Two men with traps at a stall

Predator Free Backyard Funding 2021 Announced

We are pleased to announce eleven community groups who will receive Predator Free Backyard Communities funding. We received over a hundred applications and the majority were from highly motivated groups ready to make a difference in their communities. Friends of Riverpark Reserve, Auckland Friends of Riverpark Reserve is an existing group that has made great … Continue reading Predator Free Backyard Funding 2021 Announced

Rat in some leaf litter

Troubleshooting tips: What to do when your rat trap isn’t catching any rats

We’ve pulled together some tips to make your trap more effective. 1. Know your rat To trap rats successfully you need to know more about them, specifically their behaviours and what motivates them. Here are some interesting facts you should know about them: Rats thrive around humans Humans provide lots of food sources for rats … Continue reading Troubleshooting tips: What to do when your rat trap isn’t catching any rats

Two Otago skinks showing their beautiful distinct patterns

5 NZ skinks found nowhere else in the world

New Zealand’s most commonly encountered reptile is the skink. You may have even spotted one in your garden. It is estimated we have around 60 native species of skinks that are widely distributed across the country and some have only been discovered in the last decade. None of our native lizards (both geckos and skinks) … Continue reading 5 NZ skinks found nowhere else in the world

Two kereru in a nest

5 ways to make your garden a safe haven for native species

Love the idea of attracting native wildlife into your backyard? Here are 5 ways to make your garden a safe haven.  1. Trap rats Attracting native species to your backyard is great but make sure it’s a safe place for the birds, bugs and lizards that visit. Rats prey upon native birds, chicks and eggs, … Continue reading 5 ways to make your garden a safe haven for native species

Sam Gibson of Eastern Whio Link holding a trout he's caught beside a river bed

Protecting a very special duck: Q&A with Eastern Whio Link

The Eastern Whio Link is a conservation project with a difference. Based in the Upper Waioeka between Gisborne and Ōpōtiki, this project is dedicated to restoring a healthy whio (blue duck) population to the Waioeka waterways. We’re going to be chatting with Sam Gibson from The Eastern Whio Link. Sam is an active hunter and … Continue reading Protecting a very special duck: Q&A with Eastern Whio Link

Ranger, illustrator and bird nerd: Sarah Little

Sarah Little spends her time caring for kākāpo on Whenua Hou, tramping around Aotearoa and telling conservation stories through her popular cartoons.  Today, we’re chatting with the incredible conservationist behind the cartoons. Sarah, thank you so much for the opportunity to interview you today.  Firstly, what sparked your passion for conservation? I’ve been obsessed with … Continue reading Ranger, illustrator and bird nerd: Sarah Little

How to keep your compost rodent free: A Q&A with an Expert from Compost Collective

Composting has many benefits: it enriches soil, reduces waste and is great for the environment. The Compost Collective is a collaborative project aimed at helping New Zealand households engage in composting and organic waste reduction. Thousands of New Zealanders are already composting, however, the bins may attract rats and mice to feast on your food … Continue reading How to keep your compost rodent free: A Q&A with an Expert from Compost Collective

Predator Free Backyards funding is now open

The current round of Predator Free Backyard Communities funding is open. Communities wanting to become predator free can now apply for funding that will support trapping in their backyards.  To be eligible to apply for funding a community should be a suburb or town, or a community of rural houses clustered together. The programme specifically … Continue reading Predator Free Backyards funding is now open

Tūī on a harakeke showing it's iridescent feathers in the sun

If our native birds were gardeners, what would they plant?

Native plants are a good way to attract native birds to your garden. No matter how small, you can always make your backyard more attractive to native birdlife by providing food, water, shelter, and nesting places/materials.  You can break down the diets of our native birds into nectar, fruit, foliage and insects. By planting a … Continue reading If our native birds were gardeners, what would they plant?