Breaking News: Kōkako Population Soars in Rotoehu Forest

In a thrilling revelation, the first survey conducted in four years has unveiled a remarkable surge in the local population of these elusive forest birds.


Rotoehu Forest has emerged as the second-largest mainland kōkako population, with a recent count tallying an astounding 289 pairs. This is an astonishing 89% increase compared to the 157 pairs recorded in 2019.


The credit for this phenomenal growth goes to the relentless dedication of community volunteers and passionate advocates who have worked tirelessly to safeguard the forest’s rich biodiversity. For nearly a decade, the Rotoehu Ecological Trust has been steadfastly protecting the birds within the forest, contributing significantly to this success story.


Jane Bird, a trustee at the Rotoehu Ecological Trust, paid homage to the individuals and groups that have labored over the years to create and preserve safe habitats for the kōkako population. She expressed, “We pay tribute to all who have gone before us in creating and maintaining the safe spaces in which this kōkako population has thrived.”


The roots of this conservation endeavor trace back to the late 1980s when dedicated members of Forest & Bird Te Puke initiated protests that ultimately led to the establishment of a protected conservation and ecological area. This sanctuary served as the ancestral home for the present-day kōkako Ecosanctuary.


The Rotoehu Ecological Trust has ambitious plans for the future. They aspire to expand their managed area to protect kōkako residing beyond the current 1367-hectare area they presently cover.


As we celebrate this remarkable achievement in kōkako conservation, we urge you to be a part of this incredible journey. These results would not have been possible without the support of Ngāti Mākino and the permission of the Department of Conservation along with our sponsors Old Forest School, Kokako Organic Coffee Roasters, Kaingaroa Timberlands, Western Bay of Plenty District Council, Bay of Plenty Regional Council, WWF, Wai Kokopu, GIS Services and of course our hardworking volunteers.


However, our recent funding application to the Department of Conservation was not successful due to oversubscription, placing our mission at higher risk than ever before. Now we need your help to carry on with this critical work. By making a donation to our Givealittle page, you can actively participate in the magic taking place right here in the Rotoehu Forest. Your contribution will enable us to continue our vital work of safeguarding the kōkako and their natural habitat. With your support, we can protect these iconic birds and their home, reducing our reliance on uncertain public funding and ensuring their future is secure.