The big romantics

New Zealand Paradise Duck

New Zealand Paradise Duck


One of the benefits of the conservation work we’ve been doing on at Whenua Matua, our vineyard in the Upper Moutere in the Tasman region is the wide variety of wildlife we’re now seeing.

Over the past decade we’ve planted over 9000 native seedlings to provide shelter and create natural habitats for native species. A lake we created for water storage also has the added benefit of attracting bird life. There are now many areas of Whenua Matua that have been adopted by indigenous wildlife. One of these is the pūtangitangi, or paradise duck. Pūtangitangi are a large goose-like duck found only in Aotearoa New Zealand.

The ducks’ striking plumage markings make them easy to identify – the drake has a black head and a barred black body, while the hen has a white head with a bright orange chestnut body.

Pūtangitangi are big romantics – generally mating, feeding and flying together for life. They even have complementary calls – a deep honk for males and higher heek for females. Their alternating calls can sound quite haunting when out on the vineyard on early, misty mornings.

It’s not always easy creating the healthy habitats that wildlife need – but when we see these adorable, adoring ducks coming back and enjoying Whenua Matua year after year it makes it all worthwhile.

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