Native species thrive where we live, work and play

Species Reintroduction

Three hundred years ago, Te Matau a Māui/Hawke’s Bay was a landscape of coastal estuaries and bush that rang with the sounds of countless native birds. Our sister project Poutiri Ao ō Tāne, located just north of Cape to City, lies within the Maungaharuru Range: home of the 'mountain that rumbles and roars'. Stories passed down by local Māori speak of how Maungaharuru roared every morning and evening as the many birds took flight and returned again to their maunga.

Our vision is to bring back kiwi, whio and other native species and to create safe habitat corridors so wildlife in the neighbouring Cape Sanctuary restoration project can return to the wider landscape. By doing so, we hope residents and visitors can begin to understand what this region once looked like.

We believe we can unite the past with the present to restore biodiversity in Hawke's Bay and set a precedent for the future of New Zealand.

Bringing back our birds

A critical part of the species reintroduction programme is to take sea birds, waterfowl and forest birds from other areas within Hawke's Bay and around New Zealand and release them into the Cape to City footprint. Significant time and research goes into preparing for these translocations. Our team works closely with one another and our project partners to choose the ideal species, locate suitable habitat, ensure pest numbers have been brought under control and help build community awareness of the value of this work. The journey of a successful translocation can be a long one, but there's nothing more rewarding than seeing a native bird return to a landscape from which its species has been absent for so long.

In 2015, Cape to City celebrated its first translocations with the release of toutouwai (North Island robins) and miromiro (tomtits) onto a reserve in the Cape to City footprint. The event was made all the more poignant as these birds had come from bush within the Poutiri Ao ō Tāne footprint and represented a taonga between the projects. Check out our News and Facebook pages for more information on upcoming translocations and opportunities to take part.

Blessing our native species with a karakia and releasing them into their new home is an exciting accomplishment, but it isn't the end of the story...


We monitor these new populations, as well as the biodiversity of the landscape in general, so we can better understand:

  • How species become established.
  • Links between different species and their habitat.
  • What long-term improvements are possible when native species are allowed to flourish.

Native birds, invertebrates and lizards are all part of our monitoring process. We'll know we are achieving our vision when these species are once more regular inhabitants of the Cape to City footprint.

Check out our Reports page to learn more about Cape to City's translocation and monitoring research.

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