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Kōkako Reward Matched by the Morgan Foundation – Now $10,000


Updated online “wanted poster”, with new reward, using image of NI kōkako by Tara Swan and photo alteration and poster design by Oscar Thomas.


The Morgan Foundation have lent their support to the search for the South Island kōkako by matching the $5000 reward offered in January for definitive proof that the South Island kōkako is still alive.

NZ$10,000 is now on offer to the person who provides the evidence needed to confirm the continued existence of this very special bird. It was known to be alive in the 1960s but classified as extinct thereafter. Compelling reports of sightings in recent years have resulted in official recognition that it may still exist.

Time must be running out for this unique New Zealand bird. The Morgan Foundation and the South Island Kōkako Trust hope that this boost to the reward will encourage even more people to be alert for kōkako calls and sightings in the native forests of the South and Stewart Islands.

Morgan Foundation Trustee, Jessi Morgan, is excited to be involved in the search:

“We’re passionate about the conservation of New Zealand’s native species and we would love to hear that the wonderful South Island kōkako has been found and efforts can begin to bring it back from the brink of extinction. If our offer to match the reward encourages more people to join the search and enjoy our native forests, we’ll be delighted with the outcome. If we are called upon to pay the reward, we will be absolutely thrilled!”

Mōhua Investments Limited put up the initial $5,000 and is equally as excited about being in a position to pay the reward. Nigel Babbage, Director of Mōhua Investments and a Trustee of the South Island Kōkako Trust said:

“There is nothing I’d like more than to present someone with a cheque for $5,000 because their evidence led to confirmation that this bird is still out there.

“From the reports I have heard and speaking to some of the people who have reported seeing the bird, I am convinced that it is still alive. Those reports have come from Stewart Island, Fiordland, South Westland and all the way up to Kahurangi National Park and the Marlborough Sounds.

“I’d like to encourage all backcountry enthusiasts to be our eyes and ears out there and to log possible encounters on the South Island Kōkako Trust’s website.”

The Trust will review every report received and then submit any strong evidence received to independent expert analysis. The reward, now NZ$10,000, will be paid once a panel of New Zealand’s expert ornithologists agrees that the bird exists.

Further information about the search and the reward is available on the Trust’s website

To assist searching, the Trust is happy to e-mail regular updates of subsequent sightings on request. (


Further information on South Island kōkako is available from:

Extract from nzbirdsonline: “In early 1800s, [the kōkako] occupied beech forests and low scrub above the tree line on both sides of Southern Alps from northwestern Nelson south to Fiordland and mixed podocarp forest on Stewart Island and some forested areas of Otago and Southland. They declined markedly after introductions of cats, ship rats and stoats, and were very rare by the late 1800s.”

Sound file from nzbirdsonline:

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