Birds of Whenua Matua
At Tohu, protecting and restoring native wildlife matters to us. We consider them taonga (treasures) and take our role as kaitiaki (guardians) of the land seriously.
Our Whenua Matua vineyard is a good example of how we’re giving back to the land and the impact it has on wildlife. Covering 60 hectares, half of the land is planted in grape vines while a significant portion of the remaining land is being restored to its natural state.
Many of the trees we’ve planted attract native birds due to their nectar and honeydew. Thanks to our conservation efforts, we’re seeing a significant increase in native birdlife. In fact, there are now many areas of the vineyard that have been adopted by indigenous wildlife including korimako, pūkeko, kahu and pīwakawka.
One of our favourite visitors is the tūī, with its distinctive white tuft under its throat. Tūī have high cultural significance to Māori. Belonging to the honeyeater family, tūī are important pollinators of many native trees. They’re also incredible songbirds, with two voice boxes and an amazing range of sounds that can include bell-like tones plus clicks, cackles and coughs.
Tūī are also excellent mimics, copying other birds as well as phones ringing, car alarms and sometimes even people! This talent made them popular with Māori and early European settlers who taught them to talk and whistle particular tunes. Some were even trained to welcome visitors.
It’s amazing to know what they are capable of, but we’re happy to leave tūī and our other native birds to live naturally in the wild. It’s enough to know we’re making a difference for them.
Learn more about our conservation work here. Each year, the conservation organisation Forest and Bird runs the New Zealand Bird of the Year competition, and the tūī took out the first ever competition back in 2005. If you have a favourite New Zealand bird let us know in the comments below. We’d love to hear from you.