Tieke/Saddleback transfer to Chalky Island

Tieke recovery on Te Kakahu o Tamatea/Chalky Island

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- thanks to Peregrine Wines, their first project with us


In April 2008, Peregrine Wines undertook their very first tieke/saddleback transfer project in partnership with the Fiordland Conservation Trust and DOC.

39 endangered tieke/South island saddleback were captured from South Passage and Breaksea Islands and transferred to Te Kakahu/ Chalky Island, part of a programme to extend populations of tieke back over their original range.


The sponsorship was made possible through sales of Peregine's internationally acclaimed wines, particularly the Saddleback pinot noir.

In addition physical assistance from Peregrine staff and their supporters added to the sense of commitment by those involved. 



The transfer of the tieke to Te Kakahu is a good example of how a local business is working with the Trust on a specific conservation project. It is part of the ongoing programme to restore native species to islands after the removal of introduced pests.

A juvenille tieke contemplates his new life

Tieke who nest and spend much of their lives foraging on the ground were thought to have quickly become extinct on the mainland following the introduction of mammalian predators. They survived only on Big South Cape Island up until the 1960’s when rats were accidentally introduced to the island.

They were almost wiped out on the island, but 36 of the tieke were rescued by the Wildlife Service (a predecessor of DOC) and transferred to a predator free island. Their descendants have since been transferred to a number of predator free islands in Fiordland. Their survival now depends on these island sanctuaries remaining free of predators.

Te Kakahu/Chalky Island has never had rats, mice, possums or deer present and as a result of this is an incredibly intact ecosystem. The island is already home to other threatened species including Mohua, Orange Fronted Parakeets (which have been transferred to the island during the past 5 years), an endemic species of lizard as well as other threatened invertebrates.

The island is open to the public although it is very remote being on the rugged south western tip of the South Island.

From the news archives

April 2008

Thirty nine endangered tieke/saddleback are settling into a new home on one of Fiordland’s special predator-free islands thanks to the combined efforts of a winery with a special interest in these unique birds and the Fiordland Conservation Trust.

Peregrine Wines staff and supporters of their company joined DOC staff late last month capturing the birds from South Passage and Breaksea Islands and releasing them onto Te Kakahu o Tamatea/Chalky Island as part of a programme to extend populations of tieke back over their original range.

The transfer of the birds was funded by Peregrine Wines through the Fiordland Conservation Trust as an extension of their interest in the conservation of threatened native species.

“Since the first release of Peregrine wine 11 years ago we have been supporting the conservation of native birds,” said Greg Hay, Marketing Manager and Co-owner of Peregrine Wines. “We are a major sponsor of the ‘Wingspan Birds of Prey Trust’, supporting our New Zealand falcons.”

Mr Hay said as Peregrine’s partner label, Saddleback has been on the market for 8 years. They have been looking for a similar opportunity to be financially and physically involved with helping the rare South Island Saddleback.

“As soon as we heard about the newly formed Fiordland Conservation Trust and the ability for us to fund specific projects, we knew we had found exactly what we were looking for. Fiordland is on our own back door.  Tieke are only surviving on a few off-shore islands and it is important to extend their populations.  Our support of both the falcon and saddleback also allows our customers to directly contribute to their recovery and survival.”

Tieke/saddleback were once wide-spread throughout Fiordland.  Their decline was caused by the introduction of predators such as rats and stoats.  In 1999, Te Kakahu (511ha) was the first island in Fiordland from which stoats were eradicated.  At the time it was considered an unlikely achievement.  However stoats were totally eradicated with all but one captured within the first 8 days of trapping. 

DOC ranger Murray Willans said the transfer of tieke to Te Kakahu is part of an ongoing and extensive programme aimed at restoring native species to many of Fiordland’s islands following the eradication of pest species.