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Search for the South Island Kokako

The South Island Kokako Charitable Trust is offering a reward of NZ$10,000 for information leading to confirmation that the South Island kokako is still alive and we need your help to spread the message.

South Island backcountry enthusiasts will no doubt know that the South Island kokako is an ancient bird once widespread in southern New Zealand forests.  It was listed as extinct until 2013 when its status was reclassified as ‘data deficient’ following credible sightings and it is likely to be the rarest bird on the planet. The re-classification gave the Trust renewed hope and energy to continue the search for this melodious and secretive bird and we’re asking for help from you and your members.

The search is urgent. If South Island kokako still exist there will be very few left and they need to be found and conserved appropriately.  Our Trust’s aim is to confirm that this remarkable bird still exists.  We need you all to be our eyes and ears.

Any evidence provided will be considered by the South Island Kokako Charitable Trust and independent expert confirmation of the bird’s existence in the field will be sought before the reward is paid.  As evidence, the Trust would prefer a verifiable photograph of the bird but will consider other compelling evidence.

If you hear the South Island kokako, it is so distinctively different, it will stop you in your tracks.  Even so, the song of a tui has been known to come close.  Sound recordings have yet to provide the evidence we need so now we’re appealing to back country users to find the proof.

The Trust is inviting you to record possible encounters through its website.  It has already received encouraging reports over the past few years and from these has produced a map of sites where South Island kokako are most likely to be found.  The map and further information about the search and the reward is available on the Trust’s website. Report findings here:

Posted: 30/01/17

Posted By: Margaret McMahon