Maud Island, in the Marlborough Sounds was the first ‘takahē island’. It is a patchwork of pasture, native forest and exotic pines. Transferring takahē to Maud wasn’t achieved without vigorous debate over how suitable it was to shift birds from an alpine tussock habitat to lowland islands with introduced grasses and regenerating forests. Some argued that takahē were adapted for living in alpine tussock grasslands and introduced lowland grasslands wouldn’t suit them. Others argued that takahē had once been widespread throughout New Zealand, so that they would do well on predator free islands.
In 1984 and 1985, nine juvenile takahē, raised from eggs collected in the Murchison Mountains were transferred to Maud Island. The first breeding attempt occurred in 1986.
Maud is home to four takahē; Pitt, Kowhai, Harpur and Roy.
The island is a scientific reserve, and no unauthorised landing is permitted.
2014 Takahē removed for mouse eradication
Early in 2014 all the takahē were moved off Maud Island to allow for the eradication of mice which had re-invaded the island. The birds will be returned to Maud once the island is given the all-clear.