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Backing the Saddleback

MEDIA RELEASE – FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
10 October 2017


Backing the Saddleback

Wellington, NZ - ZEALANDIA Rangers have thrown their support behind tīeke / saddleback in this year's Bird of the Year competition. Run by Forest & Bird, Bird of the Year aims to highlight the plight of our native birds in a fun and engaging way.

Education Ranger Darren Van Hoof and Comms Guy Cam Hayes have teamed up as Team Tīeke to lead the campaign.

"Tīeke are a really important bird, and a great yard stick for the success of Predator Free New Zealand," said Hayes. "They spend a lot of time on the ground, making them really vulnerable, so we can really recognise success when we see places such as Polhill Reserve [Wellington] where they are now nesting thanks to the trapping efforts put in by that community."

Related to the huia, tīeke were once common around the country but were wiped out on mainland New Zealand by introduced predators in the early 1900s, surviving on a handful of offshore islands. With the success of translocations they are now thriving on many off-shore islands and protected mainland sanctuaries.

According to Māori lore, the saddle marking was caused by the demi-god, Maui. Made thirsty by the heat of the sun, Maui asked the tīeke to fetch him some water but the bird ignored him. This irritated Maui, and he seize the bird with his hot hands and singed the feathers on its back.

Bird of the Year voting is open from now until Monday 23 October. You can vote here: www.birdoftheyear.org.nz/

ENDS


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