Monitoring incubating kiwi eggs and helping rear newly hatched chicks ahead of releasing them to predator-free places in the wild is just one of the many things our bird keeper Catherine loves about summertime here at the Zoo.

While you’re about to head away on holiday to the bach or your favourite camping site, Catherine has some top tips she’s keen to share – so you can continue to be kaitiaki of our precious native wildlife and wild places while you’re having a fabulous and well-deserved break.

“One of my favourite places to relax in nature is Tāwharanui Regional Park. It’s just 80 mins north of Auckland and is a very cool example where you’ve got farmland, native bush, wetlands and coastal/beach areas that are fenced off to create predator-proof habitats where native birds, reptiles and invertebrates can thrive. It’s also a stunning marine reserve.  Whether you’re at Tāwharanui or any other of our incredibly beautiful wild places, the below tips apply”

At the beach and on the water

  • Respect areas of sand dunes roped off; these will be roped off to help breeding shore birds like dotterels, oyster catchers, shore plovers or the rare tara iti (fairy tern) and also to help restore the flora that’s essential to ensuring the stability of the sand dunes
  • Protect our kororā (little penguin): January to March is moulting time for kororā, so you may see and/or hear penguins under your bach or up on the beach, please don’t disturb. As kororā can’t swim until they’ve got their new water-proof feathers, while on land they’re super vulnerable to dogs, stoats, and cats. If you have a bach at the beach and are taking your dog, please be mindful of this. If you haven’t already, you could also set recommended predator-traps.
  • Out on the water: kororā that can be in the water are especially vulnerable to boat-strike. Of the Zoo’s 12-strong colony of kororā injured and rescued from the wild, over half have flipper injuries. If you’re a boatie watch out for these marine birds and other marine life and remember; the sea is their home!
  • Call 0800 HOT DOC (0800 362 468):  If you come across any wildlife at the beach and are unsure about whether it might be injured or not, unless it is clearly in imminent danger, do not intervene. Please just call this DOC hotline.

In the bush

  • Keep to the tracks: Tracks are marked out for your safety but also to protect all the precious plants and delicate ecosystems of our native bush
  • Keep wildlife safe from dogs: Dogs are wonderful creatures but can have devastating impacts on our native wildlife, particularly birds. If taking your dog on holiday, keep your dog on a lead and away from where native wildlife are. Different areas have different rules on if you can take your dog there or not. Some areas allow dogs, others require a permit, and some do not allow dogs at all.
  • Respect closed tracks: If a bush track is closed, there’ll be a good reason, such as protecting our native trees from kauri dieback. Find out which tracks are open and how you can do your bit to protect our forests from kauri dieback.

Be a tidy Kiwi!

  • Wherever you visit – be it the bush or beach, be sure to leave only footprints, and take all your rubbish with you to be carefully recycled.