Meet the wildlife

We have over 20 species of native wildlife at the Kiwi Park that are either here part of a managed conservation program or brought to us for rehabilitation.

North Island Brown Kiwi

Apteryx mantelli
Conservation status: Not threatened

Kiwi are incredibly unique birds, only found in New Zealand. Once found throughout New Zealand, they are now declining rapidly due to introduced predators. Kiwi are nocturnal and are only able to be seen in our kiwi houses. Visit one of our Kiwi encounters to get a close-up view of these quirky birds!

All of our Kiwi are released into managed and predator-controlled areas in the wild. We currently have 10 Kiwi at our facility.

South Island Kākā

Nestor meridionalis
Conservation Status: Recovering 

South Island Kākā are forest-dwelling birds that are known for their curiosity and the variety of sounds they make. Often confused with Kea, the Kākā have an olive-brown coat with scarlet feathers underneath.

Generally heard before they are seen, Kākā are large, forest-dwelling parrots that are found on all three main islands of New Zealand and on several offshore islands. Much reduced in range and abundance in the North and South islands due to forest clearance and predation by introduced mammals, Kākā are most abundant on offshore islands that have no introduced mammals, or at least no stoats. 

Whio/Blue Duck

Hymenolaimus malacorhynchos
Conservation status: Nationally vulnerable

The whio an iconic species of clear fast-flowing rivers, now mostly confined to high altitude segments of rivers in North and South Island mountain regions. Named after their high-pitch “whio” sound, they are easily recognizable with their blue/grey coat. Blue ducks are monogamous and fiercely territorial; the territory and pair bond are maintained throughout the year.

All of the offspring of our breeding pair are released into the wild. 


Nestor notabilis
Conservation status: Nationally endangered

The world’s only mountain parrot, the Kea. Kea are endemic to the South Island of New Zealand and are closely associated with mountain beech and lowland podocarp forests.

Kea are unusual in that they actively seek out and interact with people and their property. This ‘neophilia’ – love of new things, has brought people into conflict with Kea to an extent which is unprecedented with another endemic avian species.

Kererū/ Wood Pigeon

Hemiphaga novaeseelandiae
Conservation Status: Not threatened

The world’s second-largest pigeon. The Kererū is a vital part of the New Zealand ecosystem. The Kererū is the only bird with a beak large enough to swallow fruit larger than 12mm in diameter and disperse the seeds again whole. Native trees such as the karaka, taraire, tawa, miro and puriri depend on the kereru to carry their seeds to new areas of forest.If Kererū were to become extinct it would spell disaster for our native forests.

Pāteke/ Brown Teal

Anas chlorotis
Conservation Status: Recovering

The brown teal is the largest and only flighted member of the three brown-plumaged teals endemic to the New Zealand region. The brown teal was an abundant and widespread species 200 years ago, but became highly endangered due mainly to the impacts of introduced predators. We’ve contributed to the Brown Teal Recovery Program since 2001 and have released more than 250 teal since then.Their conservation status changed back in 2008 from “Nationally Endangered” to “Recovering”. A great outcome due to conservation efforts NZ wide.

All of the offspring from our breeding pair are released into predator-controlled areas.

Ruru/ Morepork

Ninox novaeseelandiae
Conservation status: Not threatened

Ruru are widely distributed throughout the native and exotic forests of New Zealand. A bird of the bush and the night, the Ruru is a powerful figure in Maori mythology and tradition. It was believed Ruru originated from the underworld and that a Ruru entering a household would be followed by a death in the family. Other traditions suggest Ruru can act as guardians and can protect and advise a family group, and that its characteristic “more-pork” calls means that good news is on the way.   With short rounded wings and ears and eyes adapted for low light and darkness they are a formidable and stealthy predator of our forests.

We have three here at the park, and you’re likely to spot one in our conservation show!

Buff Weka

Gallirallus australis
Conservation status: Not threatened

Weka are charismatic birds that are often attracted to human activity. This makes an encounter with a Weka a wildlife highlight for many people, as the curious bird searches for any food item that the intruder might bring. Often confused with Kiwi in the wild by tourists, they’re relatively uncommon on the mainland but have been seen locally on Pigeon Island on Lake Wakatipu. The weka is one of New Zealand’s iconic large flightless birds. Likely derived from a flighted ancestor, weka are 3-6 times larger than banded rails, which are considered their nearest flying relatives.

Kārearea / New Zealand Falcon

Falco novaeseelandiae
Conservation status:  Threatened

The New Zealand Kārearea is a small raptor that feeds on live prey. Capable of hunting within the dense New Zealand forests they are also found in more open habitats such as tussock-lands and roughly grazed hill country. Where they nest on the ground they are well known for attacking intruders, including humans, with aggressive dive-bombing strikes to the head.

Antipodes Island Kākāriki

Cyanoramphus unicolor
Conservation Status: Naturally uncommon

The Antipodes Island Kākāriki is an unmistakable, uniformly green parakeet endemic to the subantarctic Antipodes Islands. Antipodes Island Kākāriki are strong fliers but prefer to walk about and climb over vegetation, especially when feeding.

Leaves dominate its diet, but the species is noted for its habit of scavenging bird carcasses and broken eggs, and for killing and eating grey-backed storm petrels – joining the Kea as New Zealand’s second occasionally predatory parrot.

New Zealand Scaup / Pāpango

Aythya novaeseelandiae
Conservation Status: Not threatened

New Zealand scaup are gregarious diving ducks common throughout New Zealand. Compact and blackish, they have the silhouette of a bath-toy duck. They often occur in large flocks, floating with cork-like buoyancy.

Scaup are diving ducks and spend a lot of time underwater, where they can travel considerable distances. Large approachable flocks are a feature of the Queenstown lakeshores.


Sphenodon punctatus
Conservation Status: Threatened

Though they may look like lizards, they belong to their own ancient family of reptile called Sphenodontia dating to over 220 million years ago. They are the last survivors of an order of reptiles that thrived in the age of the dinosaurs. Tuatara have one of the slowest growth rates of any reptile, and they keep growing until they are about 35 years old. 

Their name derives from the Māori language, and means “peaks on the back”. While they were once prevalent in NZ, their low numbers are due to the introduction of predators, mainly rats, as they eat their eggs and young.

We have 12 tuatara at the park; 4 adult, 5 juvenile, and 3 babies. 


Prosthemadera novaeseelandiae
Conservation Status: Not threatened

Tūī are a common and widespread bird of rural, forrested, and urban areas. They look black from a distance, but in good light tui have a blue, green and bronze iridescent sheen, and distinctive white throat tufts (poi). They are usually very vocal, with a complicated mix of tuneful notes interspersed with coughs, grunts and wheezes.

Tūī diet varies depending on the seasonal availability of nectar and fruits. Their preferred diet is nectar and honeydew, and they will often shift to, or commute daily or more frequently to, good nectar sources. Tūī are notoriously aggressive, and will defend a flowering or fruiting tree, or a small part of a large tree, from all-comers, whether another Tūī or another bird species. 

Otago Skink

Oligosoma otagense
Conservation Status: Nationally endangered

One of the largest skink species. Found in in schist outcrops, bluffs, and tors in shrubland and tussock grassland, Otago skink live in family groups of two adults and up to three generations of young. 

DOC have a specific management plan for the Otago and grand skinks, with the Otago and grand skink recovery team focusing conservation efforts on intensive pest management and predator-proof fences.  

We contribute to the captive breeding programme for Otago skink.

Campbell Island Teal

Anas nesiotis
Conservation Status: Nationally vulnerable

Campbell Island teal are endemic to Campbell Island. A small population, sourced from captive-raised birds has persisted on Codfish Island, off Stewart Island, since 1999. Another sub-Antarctic species, the Campbell Island teal were thought to have gone extinct from their native Campbell Island with the arrival of whaling boats carrying Norway rats in the early 1800s. Fortunately, a small number were found on nearby Dent Island. Following what was at the time the world’s largest island pest eradication project, Norway rats were removed, and Campbell Island Teal were reintroduced from Dent Island in 2004. They are now at carrying capacity on those islands so the Kiwi Park is one of the last remaining sites that you can still see Campbell Island Teal. This species is a brilliant example of a large-scale conservation success story.

Red-Crowned Kākāriki

Cyanoramphus novaezelandiae
Conservation Status: Relict

Formerly common throughout New Zealand, red-crowned Kākāriki are now completely restricted to pest-free offshore and outlying islands. Red-crowned Kākāriki occupy a variety of habitats ranging from tall forests to grass and shrub-lands. Red-crowned Kākāriki are medium-sized, long-tailed parrots with green plumage and a crimson forehead and fore-crown, and patches of the same colour behind the eyes and on each flank, at the base of the tail.

Yellow-Crowned Kākāriki

Cyanoramphus auriceps
Conservation Status:  Declining 

The yellow-crowned Kākāriki is a small and noisy forest-dwelling green parrot with a yellow crown, a narrow scarlet band between the crown and the beak, a red spot on each side of the rump and a blue leading edge to the outer wing. Relatively common on some off-shore islands and some mainland forests, they are still susceptible to predation by stoats, rats and possums, particularly while they are nesting and roosting in holes. 

There have been multiple accounts reporting wild sightings in our park and in the Wakatipu region.

Elegant Gecko

Naultinus elegans
Conservation status: At risk- declining

A bright green gecko that’s cathemeral  (active both day and night) and arboreal (tree dwelling), inhabiting scrubland and forested areas, in particular occupying the foliage of trees and shrubs, including mānuka and kānuka trees. They’re viviparous meaning their offspring hatch from an egg inside of the body of the parent and can live up to 50 years.