Although the white kiwi chicks were a real draw card, there is a whole lot more to see at Pukaha Mt Bruce. Tuatara are ancient reptiles and are often referred to as “living fossils” as they were around in the days of the dinosaurs. Although tuatara once covered mainland New Zealand they are now only found on predator free islands, zoos or wildlife centres such as Mt Bruce.
Kaka are endangered large forest parrots and there is are currently over 100 wild kaka flying free in the surrounding forest. The birds fly in for the 3pm “Kaka Circus” where they receive supplementary feed and although there was still and hour or so to go, were starting to gather in the trees as we walked around the tracks. They delighted in “buzzing” us as they swooped low over our heads as they followed us around, and then posed quite happily for the photo-shoot
Kakariki are noisy little green parrots and there are several species. This orange fronted Kakariki was well camouflaged as he was hiding in the trees and sadly the population of this species has now reached the critical stage.
The comfortable new movie theatre has several short films which run continuously throughout the day. These films tell the stories of the important relationship between forest restoration, pest eradication and captive breeding. We saw how teams of people worked together to move 30 wild kiwi from Little Barrier Island and transport them safely 600km to Pukaha Mt Bruce. RNZAF (Royal New Zealand Air force) donated the services of a helicopter and a Hercules plane to carry the precious cargo back to Masterton. From Masterton the Kiwi were transported by road to Pukaha Mt Bruce.
Our men folk went to watch the eels (NZ Long Fin Eels) and some rather fat looking Rainbow Trout (that would have looked good on a plate) being fed. We girls consider eels to be ugly slimy things and were not interested so wandered back to the cafe for a snack, coffee and a sit down to rest our weary legs. There is certainly plenty to see at this facility.