Cheeky kākā, friendly takahē and giant eels will have you reaching for your camera. Pūkaha National Wildlife Centre promises you some extraordinary wildlife encounters.

Pūkaha National Wildlife Centre(opens in new window) is a captive-breeding sanctuary for some the country's most threatened birds. Located in a pocket of ancient forest 30 kilometres north of Masterton, Pūkaha National Wildlife Centre is a highly educational experience and it's also great fun.

Enjoy the antics of kākā (bush parrots) at the feed stations; talk to a takahē (a large, bright blue, flightless bird that likes to eat grass); watch for the monster eels and brown trout that live under the bridge; and follow the forest trails to look for saddlebacks, stitch birds and kōkako. The park also includes a kiwi house and a wetlands area.

Professional conservation staff are on hand to answer your questions and talk about the breeding programme that's helping to preserve some of New Zealand's rarest native birds and animals. The visitor education centre has displays, an audio visual room and a café.

What can I do here?

  • Encounter wild kākā as they swoop out of the forest for their 3pm daily feed.
  • View kiwi poking through the leaf-litter in the nocturnal house.
  • Many rare native birds - kōkako, stitchbirds,  takahē, kākāriki and black teal can be seen in their leafy realm.
  • Eels churn the water at their daily 1.30pm feed.
  • An audiovisual presentation runs every 30 minutes, and there are interesting educational displays about New Zealand's bird life.
  • Short walks introduce you to the forest giants - rimu, rātā , kahikatea and tawa.

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