The Māori tribe (iwi) of New Zealand’s South Island, Ngāi Tahu, has strong cultural and traditional associations with the takahē.
Takahē – a taonga of Ngāi Tahu
The takahē is a taonga (treasure) of Ngāi Tahu.
The Ngāi Tahu Claims Settlement Act 1998 enshrined into law the special cultural, spiritual, and traditional importance of takahē to Ngāi Tahu. In recognition of this special relationship, Ngāi Tahu is the primary partner of DOC in the Takahē Recovery Programme.
Ngāi Tahu works with DOC to set recovery direction and shares in the decision making on the implementation of the Takahē Recovery strategy. In addition Ōraka-Aparima Runaka of Ngāi Tahu is actively involved in the Takahē Breeding Programme within their rohe.
Whenever takahē are transferred to a new site they are accompanied by representatives of Ngāi Tahu who hand over the kaitiakitanga (guardianship) of the bird to the iwi of the new site.