Whangarei Native Bird Recovery Programme

The award-winning Whangarei Native Bird Recovery Centre cares for, treats and rehabilitates 1300 injured native birds each year – including our country’s icon, the Kiwi.

The Centre, founded by Robert and Robyn Webb sixteen years ago, takes in all injured birds, and where possible nurses them back to health for release into the wild.

A special part of the Centre is the Bayer incubation unit and Kiwi recovery pens. This facility is used to incubate eggs found in the wild and also as a recovery area for injured Kiwi. Over the past twelve years 120 Kiwi chicks have been hatched from the Centre, and on the day zoom-zoom magazine spoke to the Centre, Robert was preparing for the arrival of a female North Island brown Kiwi, which had been attacked by a dog. The Kiwi, aged about six years, has since been released into the wild in time for breeding.

In addition to providing a safe environment for the care and rehabilitation of native birds, the Centre provides an education centre for the public on areas of native habitat, birds and animals – and receives tens of thousands of visitors every year.

One of the Centre’s more famous attractions is ‘woof woof’ the talking Tui. Robert and Robyn received this bird when it was just five days old, and have cared for it ever since as it couldn’t be released back into the wild. At the age of two, they were in for a great surprise when the Tui one day said – “hello, woof-woof”! Now, ‘woof-woof’ the Tui can string sentences together and puts cockatoos to shame – to the delight of visitors who gawk in disbelief as the bird says to them: “Where have you been?” or “Come up here quick”. Around November the talking Tui greets visitors with a “Merry Xmas”.

The Mazda Foundation has donated $2,500 to the Whangarei Native Bird Recovery Centre to assist with the purchase of food, medication, cleaning gear and vehicle costs so that the team can continue their great work of caring for and rehabilitating New Zealand’s native birds.