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The Bonapartes of Tāwharanui return

Walter and Manaaki, they’re a pair of wayward takahē!

These two young mates absconded from their sanctuary at Tāwharanui and have spent the last 10 days cruising the Tāwharanui Regional Park in search of a night out and a good time.

It’s unknown exactly when these two 'lovers' fled the sanctuary but monitoring of transmitters attached to the pair failed to detect them as far back as October 10.

Known for their mobility, even within the park, the pair high-tailed it up Takatu Rd on the peninsula heading for the big wide world and the experiences it promised to offer.

A couple of days later on 12 October, following community intelligence through a casual conversation at the local pub regarding a sighting, radio telemetry detected the pair in the vicinity of the estuary at Baddeleys Beach; they hadn’t travelled too far but it appears they’d given up the white sands of one beach for another rather than the bright lights of the city.

The pair weren’t ready to return home though and were unwilling to be caught. Efforts to capture them were abandoned as the birds pushed further away from home.

The search resumed, tracking the birds as they moved through the area settling on private land near the Matakana River; they initially responded to broadcast calls from the search team but then lost interest; attempts to lure them into pens by feeder rattling and pellet shaking got their attention but being the crafty pair they are, the sight of the trap raised alarm bells and they remained elusive.

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Capture pens with feeds were established, scrim fences erected but this smart pair managed to evade all attempts at capture.

Auckland Council’s Senior Ranger, Matt Maitland said, “We made a decision to back off and let them settle in the hope the regular feeding would relax them, a risk and reward course of action. While we weren’t happy with the pair being at large, we knew where they were, and it was just a matter of time.”

After the best part of a week of settling in as squatters on an adjoining farm, the recovery team were confident of rounding up the pair and returning them home. But the pair had other ideas and upped sticks, relocating elsewhere.

A new plan was hatched and finally yesterday, the truant pair were recaptured and returned to Tāwharanui, their sojourn on the outside at an end after a walk of an estimated 20kms.

“Auckland Council would like to thank the community for the quality of pest control they undertake in the area and the particular care they took with their dogs during this time. The presence of vehicles, cats and dogs certainly raised the stakes on this one”, says Matt.

Having now breached the “two strike” policy, this pair of serial wanderers have been relocated today to Mototapu Island in the Hauraki Gulf from where they cannot escape; they’re not known for their swimming skills!

And did they find their good time? That’s their secret to tell!


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