Top: Tieke or Saddleback. Bottom: Kakako. Images supplied by Wai Ora Group.
Access to Mokoia Island is strictly limited to permitted operators only - the team at Mokoia Island Wai Ora Experiences for instance. They run a number of fascinating tours that give visitors an insight into this beautiful, mysterious place. I particularly like the sound of their Birds of Mokoia tours. Mokoia is New Zealand’s only inland island bird sanctuary and it has New Zealand’s largest population of Tieke (Saddleback), a bird that takes its English name from the band of colour running across the adult bird’s back. According to Maori tradition, the saddle marking was caused by the man-god Maui when he scorched the feathers of the bird after capturing the sun. In addition you’ll see tui, weka, toutouwai (North Island Robin), kokako and kiwi. (Like the extinct Huia, the kokako and tieke are part of the Wattlebird family and are found nowhere else in the world). www.mokoiaisland.com www.tearawa.iwi.nz