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Unique Flora and Fauna
Stories of New Zealand's natural beauty lure visitors to our shores, and although much of the forestation of days gone by has disappeared, New Zealanders and their visitors can still enjoy magnificent native bush in forests that provide anything from a gentle stroll on a summer's day to a rigorous hike of several days or longer.
Birds of New Zealand
Walk through any bush and at some stage you're bound to be accompanied by the cheeky little Fantail (Tiwakawaka) hoping for a meal of flying insects dislodged on your way.
Maybe you'll hear the Tui's vocal gymnastics ranging from croaks to divine bell-like tones. Known in colonial times as the 'Parson Bird' because of its throat tuft of white feathers, the Tui is a clever mimic and can even be taught to talk.
If you're lucky you may catch a glimpse of a Kereru (New Zealand Wood Pigeon) stately in a coat of metallic green, gold and brown, setting off a snowing white breast.
In the South Island watch out for the antics of the Kea, the world's only alpine parrot - a comic and a thief!
These are just some of our unique birds and we count ourselves fortunate to be able to see and hear them not only in our forests but in our towns and cities as well - still with enough pockets of green to be attractive playgrounds for many our bird species.
New Zealand's Endangered Birds
However, as in many other countries, tree felling and the introduction of pests into New Zealand, plus the pressure of modern living, have meant food sources for many birds have diminished, and numbers of some species have decreased accordingly. Some are now endangered. Others are almost extinct. Concerned groups are working hard to bring some of those endangered birds back from the brink of extinction.
New Zealand is a stronghold of the endangered Australasian Bittern (Matuku). At Waimangu Volcanic Valley we've been quietly excited to see that the Lake Rotomahana bird refuge has been home to at least one Bittern for a number of years. In 2014 a second has been spotted. Whether this is a mating pair only time will tell, but in the meantime we remain vigilant in keeping the Waimangu valley, together with Lake Rotomahana and its environs, possum and vermin free for the birds that make it home year round.
Visitors Can Help
We welcome visitors to our lovely country and are proud to share it with you. We ask only that while you enjoy our wondrous nature, whether in the forests or on the mountains, on the coast or the beaches, you tread carefully and respect our precious wildlife.
We care for it, for you to enjoy.