Mokaihaha Kōkako Trust
Healthy Forest; Thriving Communities
Why is Mokaihaha so important?
- The Mokaihaha Ecololgical Area is the largest surviving block of native forest that once covered the Mamaku Plateau, becoming an Ecological Area in the 1980’s to preserve and protect the remaining unmodified tract of podocarp/tawa forest. It has been recognised as a nationally significant site (BMU) to be considered for long-term management by DOC.
- Adding to its significance is its population of endemic New Zealand wattlebird, family Callaeidae, kōkako, the only member of that family which has continually survived on the mainland.
- The Mokaihaha population of kōkako was the only viable unmanaged population in the country before this project began in 2015. The kōkako are situated in a core area of 850 ha in the NW corner. Their population has never declined below 40 birds and is ranked in top three populations nationally. Previously, the last significant pest control was in 2006 but after the census was carried out in autumn 2015, when over a hundred birds were counted, the Department of Conservation has undertaken to protect the population with regular pest control, with the help of volunteers. The total of birds located included 45 pairs and the remainder singles. Significantly only a few were found outside the 850 ha managed area.
- “Mokaihaha is now a ‘Category 1’ site, and is a significant resource for future kokako conservation”. (Rhys Burns)
- Kōkako became endangered throughout the North Island through loss of habitat and arrival of possums, rats and mustelids. With management and advocacy activity by the Kōkako Recovery Group, community groups and agencies, numbers are now reported to be recovering from a low of 400, to over 1500 pairs in 2016 at 20 sites around the North Is.