Kapiti Island Nature Reserve

View of Kapiti Island from Otaki Beach 

Kapiti Island is situated on the West Coast of the Southern part of the North Island. As it is about 5km away from land, and with continuous and strict pest control, it has ben pest free for quite some time now. No rats, no stoats, no possums or other small mammals have access and destroy, disturb or kill the bird life. It is a paradise for threatened species.

After being greeted by our guide Manaki, we get a little introduction talk about the island and its inhabitants, we are led to the main building and meet Amo the matriarch, she locks us all in one room and make us open our bags. You could sense a certain tension from the moment we entered the main building. After Amo made sure no rodent jumped out of our bags in the room, the tension disappeared, and a warmth took its place. Amo is someone you feel lot of respect for right away.

View of the North Island from Kapiti

The bird life is loudly voicing their presence and that surrounds you as soon as your get out of the boat. Of course you are being visited by all sort of curious birds wherever you step. Wekas are never far around you on the tracks, and you have to make sure your bags are closed when you pause for a snack or a sip of water. They will have a look inside your bag for sure if you are not paying attention to it, even empty its content in case something easy to grab and eat could be found.

Wekas have wings but don't fly. They will hop on the bench next to you. They can follow you through the wood, on the trail behind you, or open the road for you.

If you like apples for snack, you might have a friendly visit from a kaka, perching on your shoulder in the hope you would be weak and give them a little bite.

During day time, you can spot a few Takahe in high grass area, a little chick was born, and you could hear the whole family calling each other in soft and sweet "poko poko polo". Never got to see the little chick, though... didn't want to get too close and disturb them all.

I wanted to spot some kiwis by night. Manaki has been a good host and a good guide during my stay, always good eyes and ears to recognise the different birds flying and calling by. I could hear the male kiwis call further up the valley, but they didn't come down down the valley that quickly. They scare easily, you need to wear clothes that don't make noise when you walk, and avoid any ray of light what so ever. I wasn't lucky to spot any that night. Instead I saw lots of wekas that don't seem to ever sleep, they are always around, day and night. Also saw a blue penguin, amazingly far from any shore, probably on its way to his nest.

Kaka having a look on everybody's plate from a fair distance of the dining table

Know the difference...!

Saddleback / Tieke, first bird in the world to be saved from extinction by people, only seen in sanctuaries


Unless your name is Amo or a very special Kaka, stick to the sign...!

There is always a Weka near you somewhere in the bush

Amo the matriarch of the house is the only one getting away with leaving a plate for the Kaka to play with

Takahe carefully leaving the protection of high grass 

New Zealand Pidgeon / Kereru

New Zealand Robin / Toutouwai

Leaving Kapiti behind

If you are a fan of birds, you can spot quite a few if you just look up and around, also if you sit silently for a little while and let them come around you.

Other birds you can spot and/or hear : Blue Duck, Black Swan, Grey Duck, Kokako, Grey Warbler/Roriro, Fantail/Piwakawaka, Whitehead/Popokotea, New Zealand Robin/Toutouwai, Stichbird/Hihi, Tui, Bellbird/Korimako, New Zealand Pidgeon/Kereru, Silvereye/Tauhou, Pied Shag/Karuhiruhi, Little Shag/Kawau Paka, ...