Posted By QEII National Trust | October 29, 2019

Te Manu Rongonui o Te Tau 2019, Bird of the Year 2019 is here and voting is now open!

Set up by Forest and Bird, the Bird of the Year highlights the fact that many of New Zealand’s unique native birds are in crisis. Their biggest risks are habitat loss and predators such as stoats, possums or rats which can kill their eggs and young; and in some cases, even adult birds. Bird of the Year celebrates the unique birds found in Aoteaora and every vote helps give them a voice.

At QEII, we are passionate about protecting habitats. Many of our protected places are for the benefit for native birds. QEII open space covenants ensure that precious habitats are conserved and when paired with effective predator control, it allows native birds to breed, feed and flourish. In other words, we love our native birds and want to see them thrive in their natural environments.

Luckily, this year, we don’t need to choose just one bird to get behind for Bird of the Year as voting this year allows for up to five birds to be chosen. To help you pick, we’ve profiled a few of the wonderful birds that can be found in QEII open space covenants.

fernbird in flight
Photo credit: Jason Hosking

Fernbird – Mātātā

Often heard but rarely seen, these cool little characters like to hang out in wetlands. They are small and quick and extremely well camouflaged, thus many New Zealanders have never seen or heard of them. Fernbird populations are declining nationwide, and in some instances, they have disappeared altogether from large areas of New Zealand. They can be found in several QEII open space covenants, including a covenant in Southland which has extensive predator control.

Hutton's Shearwater

Hutton’s Shearwater – Kaikōura Tītī

It’s no surprise that we’re backing the Hutton’s Shearwater once again for Bird of the Year. These adorable birds were our pick for Bird of the Year 2018. This endangered seabird species can be found in Kaikoura. Following the devasting earthquakes in Kaikoura, the Hutton’s Shearwater, or Tītī, sustained considerable losses, with only two remaining breeding colonies, one of which is located in a QEII covenant These alpine adventurers are in serious danger and definitely still deserving of your votes this year.



Although this is a bird with big backing, there’s no doubt that QEII loves these plucky little birds. Although we don’t have any Kākāpō in QEII covenants, we were pleased to give them a helping hand as they experienced a successful breeding season by gathering kahikatea fruit from covenanted areas for the Kākāpō chicks that were being raised by the Department of Conservation. These cheeky waddlers deserve a vote and silently, we’ve got our money on the Kākāpō to take out the title.

Photo credit: Neil Robert Hutton

Kōkako and Kōkā

The kōkako are beautiful songbirds which can be found in several QEII open space covenants in the North Island. Last year, QEII secured a Lottery Grant to give a helping hand to a population of kōkako that call several covenants in Manawahe in the Bay of Plenty home. This is a joint project with the Manawahe Kōkako Trust, Manawahe Eco trust volunteers, covenantors, Bay of Plenty Regional council and DoC, who have been controlling pests in the area for over 20 years. However, not many people will know that there are two types of kōkako, the North Island and the South Island, otherwise known as the kōkā. The kōkā, with its bright orange wattles, hasn’t been sighted for a long time, 12 years in fact, and was once declared extinct. There’s been murmurs of kōkā sightings in the last few years and although unconfirmed, the possibility that they may be back is exciting. We think both beautiful birds are worth voting for.

Bird of the Year voting is open from Monday 28 October and closes at 5pm on Sunday 10 November, this year you can vote for up to five birds. Just rank your favourite birds from one to five – to vote, head to the Bird of the Year website here.