Pōpokatea/Whitehead for Bird of the Century

The pōpokatea call the Kaimai Mamaku home and we want it to remain that way for years to come.

While this tiny song-bird doesn't get much spotlight compared to its land-based counterparts, the Kaimai Mamaku ranges are their northernmost habitat. If the population moves progressively south it could be an important indicator of forest defragmentation.

“We’re campaigning for the pōpokatea to become Bird of the Century as they’re Aotearoa/NZ’s most gregarious taonga/treasure and they’re just as important for the overall forest health as any other manu/bird,” says Louise Saunders, CEO of Manaaki Kaimai Mamaku Trust.

The nimble native lives high in the canopy but are reluctant flyers, so they are susceptible to habitat fragmentation, deforestation and predators. 

Currently, conservation efforts are happening within the ngāhere/forest to tackle pest animals and pest plants, and restore forest habitats. 

“Kaimai Mamaku Restoration Projects, funded through Jobs for Nature, have at least 8,000 pest traps set - targeting mustelids, rats and possums - and we know of numerous other groups and landowners out there working to restore the mauri of the Kaimai Mamaku.

“There’s also groups focused on getting rid of pest plants to help native plants thrive,” says Saunders.

Living in tight-knit groups, the native whitehead is one of the only bird species that forage with other manu.

“Just like the social pōpokatea, we are working collectively with all agencies, stakeholders, iwi-hapū and community groups in the rohe to restore the mauri/life of their habitat,” says Saunders.

To spot the pōpokatea, an avid hiker told us the best place in the Kaimai Mamaku is at the top of the Otanewainuku Trig Track. 

If you’re a local, if you’ve ever hiked, hunted or swum in our ngāhere, if you’ve ever sung (or sworn) while driving over the pot-hilled ranges - you need to vote for the pōpokatea as Bird of the Century. 

Voting opens 30 October.

About the pōpokatea/whitehad



About Forest & Bird’s Bird of the Century

Aotearoa New Zealand’s favourite election is back, and the stakes are higher than ever before. This year marks a whole century of Forest & Bird speaking up for nature.

Join us in celebrating our 100th birthday by sharing the love for our fantastic feathered friends. But vote carefully... this year the winner is not just Bird of the Year, but Bird of the Century!