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Saddleback Released Into Wilderness Trail

For Immediate Release
16 June 2002

Saddleback Released Into Contact Energy Wilderness Trail

The release today of 40 North Island saddleback from Tiritiri Matangi Island in the Hauraki Gulf into the heart of the Karori Wildlife Sanctuary – the Contact Energy Wilderness Trail – signals the return of the saddleback to the mainland.

It has been more than 100 years since this endangered species – a member of the wattlebird family – has been on New Zealand’s mainland in the wild. Saddleback currently exist only in captivity or on remote islands. Steve Barrett, the chief executive of Contact Energy, premier corporate sponsor of the Sanctuary, says it is a special occasion for all who are supporting the Sanctuary.

“This is the most significant single species release into the Sanctuary this year,” said Mr Barrett. “We’ll be following the re-establishment of this rare and beautiful bird on the mainland with great interest.

“We are also very proud that the saddleback is being released into the Contact Energy Wilderness Trail. This is the area that we are helping to restore as a place where our native bush, birds and other native species will thrive and we can see and learn more about them.”

Contact Energy has committed $350,000 to the Karori Wildlife Sanctuary over a three-year period, with much of the funds earmarked for major restoration and development work within this trail area.

“Our involvement with the Sanctuary is a practical expression of Contact Energy’s commitment to taking care of and using natural resources in a manner that provides benefits to the environment and New Zealanders,” Mr Barrett said.

The bird is easily recognised, as it is glossy black with a bright chestnut strip on its back and orange-red wattles at the base of its bill, and has several distinctive calls.

If members of the public see a saddleback outside the Sanctuary, they are urged to contact the Sanctuary on 04 920 9202 or email

The Karori Wildlife Sanctuary is open from 10am to 4pm weekends and public holidays, and is located at the end of Waiapu Road (first left after the Karori tunnel).


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