The steep-sided and seemingly flat-topped Mana Island is a distinctive feature of Wellington’s west coast. The 217ha island lies only 2.5km from the mainland and is currently home to about 30 takahē including 11 breeding pairs.
17 years ago Tilly, Alec, Squeak, Taku, Matakau, Terri, Ernie and Selwyn were introduced to Mana from Mount Bruce National Wildlife Centre and Te Anau Wildlife Centre. These takahē formed the ‘founding population’ and with their offspring have made Mana one of the most prolific breeding sites for takahē.
Mana birds have been used to help found populations on Kapiti, Tiritiri Matangi and more recently Motutapu Island. Birds and eggs have also been transferred to Burwood Takahē Centre.
Two birds from Mana, Puffin and T2, were retired to Zealandia in Wellington, whilst Teebee was retired to Willowbank Wildlife Reserve in Christchurch. In early 2015 Grant and Flotsam were retired to Wairakei Golf + Sanctuary near Taupo.
In the past if the timing was right and birds at Burwood Takahē Centre and Mana Island were nesting at the same time, eggs were sometimes transferred from Mana to Burwood. This helped to maximise the production at both sites. All birds at Burwood could be utilised in rearing chicks regardless of whether they had laid fertile eggs or not and takahē at Mana could re-clutch producing more eggs and chicks.
With sufficent good quality pairs at Burwood producing lots of eggs, there is no longer the need to undertake these transfers. However, Mana remains the most productive ‘takahē island’ to date.
A helping hand from Mitre 10 Takahē Rescue
Thanks to help from Mitre 10 and volunteers a number of special capture pens have been built on the island. These reduce the stress on both birds and rangers when the time comes to transfer birds.
Mitre 10 MEGA Petone also teamed up with DOC for their 2013 ‘ladies night’ and raised the funds to build new feed hoppers for all the birds on Mana.
To read more about the capture pens and the volunteers on Mana visit the DOC website blog;
Mana is open to visitors between 8am and 5pm. To find out more about Mana and how you can get there, visit the DOC website.