Deaths of takahē on Motutapu Island a tragic accident

Te Rūnanga o Ngāi Tahu representative on the Takahē Recovery Group, Sandra Cook, has labelled the deaths of four takahē on Motutapu Island a tragic accident.

“Takahē are a taonga to Ngāi Tahu, and we have worked closely with the Department of Conservation in the management of takahē for many years now. This includes participation in the takahē recovery group and on the ground in Murihiku and in assessing sites for trans-location. The death of these taonga in these circumstances is a sad event for both ourselves and for the takahē team.”

Takahē are recognised as a taonga species to Ngāi Tahu under the Ngāi Tahu Claims Settlement Act, 1998. The Act recognises the special significance of taonga species, including takahē, to the tribe.

“I have already seen negative public statements made regarding the Department of Conservation in this case and further suggestions that Ngāi Tahu would seek the return of takahē from the North Island. Those comments are most unhelpful. As a member of the takahē recovery group, I wish to acknowledge the dedication of the takahē team and other Department of Conservation staff who work tirelessly to achieve the long term goal of moving takahē off the threatened species list. This incident is a setback, but in the absence of predator free sites in the South Island, it is essential that takahē continue to be transferred and held on sites outside of the Ngāi Tahu takiwā,” said Ms Cook.

“The Department of Conservation must be given time to fully investigate this event and we will work through any issues that the investigation uncovers together for the long term benefit of the species. Despite this tragedy, our partnership will endure and we will ultimately succeed in ensuring that the takahē remain as a taonga species for us, and for our children after us.”