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Kawau Island Flora and Fauna


We found a family of Weka, a flightless member of the rail family. Both parents and two young were present, allowing close up views. Kawau Island website includes some information on the species of birds that are found there.


Eight species of rails, gallinules and coots breed in New Zealand. Evidence shows that 8 other species have become extinct between the arrival of the Maori and European settlement.


This North Island Fantail was remarkably cooperative for a tiny bird that spends its life flitting around in search of insects. The Fantail is one of the few forest birds that has benefited from the large scale clearing of forest and the creation of scrub habitat.


In 1862 Kawau Island was purchased by one of New Zealand’s first governors, Sir George Grey, as a private residence. He employed architects to significantly extend the mine manager’s house to create the stately mansion that still stands today, fully restored in its sheltered sunny bay. In the valley behind the house, the governor created an extensive garden containing plants and animals from all over the world.


In the valley behind the house, the governor created an extensive garden containing plants and animals from all over the world. It is here that we walked among the expansive gardens, seeing many species of birds, but no kiwi since it was daytime. Among the many animals on the island are several species of wallaby, one of which is now extirpated from its native habitat in Australia.

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