The story of Ngā Manu Nature Reserve

It started with a simple idea – create a place to preserve New Zealand’s native flora and fauna – and ended with the jewel in Kāpiti’s crown.

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74 Ngā Manu Reserve Road


+64 4 293 4131

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Tuatara Held

- Sharon Stephenson

A simple idea...

For Matu Booth, Manager of Ngā Manu, it’s a success story the region is rightly proud of.

“Not only are we helping to preserve NZ’s native flora and fauna, we also play a key role in wildlife breeding programs, education and research,” says Matu.

“Another important function is our breeding partnership with DOC for Brown Kiwi, yellow crowned Kakariki and reptiles such as Tuatara, green Gecko and Whitaker’s Skink, along with a partnership with the Wildbase Hospital at Massey University to provide recovery care for injured birds.”

We have lots of room for kids to run around and for families to picnic and see the ducks.

Matu Booth, Ngā Manu Manager

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Nga Manu Kea

Conservation at the heart

Matu, who started working at Ngā Manu in 2016, following 15 years as a conservation worker at Wellington’s Zealandia, says the Waikanae sanctuary is an important community resource for the region, as well as a recreational reserve for families.

“We have lots of room for kids to run around and for families to picnic and see the ducks. It’s a different entry point to learning about conservation than that offered by Zealandia. In that way, Ngā Manu feels like a small conservation project.”

A key attraction is the Nocturnal House where four Brown Kiwi live. The two breeding pairs are the stars of the Kiwi Night Encounter, a chance for visitors to get up close and personal with our native bird.

“Overseas visitors love the chance to see the Kiwi in their natural habitat without walls or glass separating us from them. But also many New Zealanders have never seen a Kiwi so they love it too.”

Come for the Kiwi, stay for the bird aviaries, the butterfly garden and the bush walks through one of the last remaining pieces of the region’s lowland swamp forest. Not to mention the Tūī, Wood Pigeon (Kererū), Fantail (Pīwakawaka), Kākāriki, Kākā, Kea, Scaup, Brown Teal (Pāteke) Blue Duck (Whio), Paradise Duck, and many other native birds in the aviaries. And then there’s the green stuff: native grasses, Orchids and Silver Ferns, along with swamp Maire, Pukatea, Kohekohe and 400-year-old Kahikatea.

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