our giant kākāpō

the Words on a Wing kakapo in NatureSpace | (c) Te Papa 2010

the Words on a Wing kakapo in NatureSpace | (c) Te Papa 2010

Look at NatureSpace’s newest visitor! This stylish mesh and steel kākāpō is two and a half metres long, a metre and a half tall, and is wearing a fashionable set of paper feathers covered in conservation-related messages from children. It ‘s part of the Words on a Wing campaign being run by the Department of Conservation, and it’s been a rather busy bird.

don't let the kakapo die! A filled in feather on the words on a wing kakapo | (c) Te Papa 2010

don’t let the kakapo die! A filled in feather on the words on a wing kakapo | (c) Te Papa 2010

At the start of the year, somebody Very Important at DOC made a list of places for it to travel. It’s from Wellington, right? So it should go to Wellington Zoo. Check. Zealandia, check.  Te Papa? Check. The Convention on Biological Diversity in Nagoya, Japan….check. Well, why not? It’s not like any other kākāpō is going to get the chance to go flying any time soon.

But there’s a hitch. A flaw. A kink. One that could keep the poor Kākāpō grounded at Wellington airport, sadly looking out the window as the plane to Japan takes off without it. See, we can’t get kākāpō a passport until Kākāpō has a name. This is serious stuff, and we need your help.

one of the feathers filled out by New Zealand children for the Words on a Wing project | (c) Te Papa

one of the feathers filled out by New Zealand children for the Words on a Wing project | (c) Te Papa

Come into NatureSpace on level 2 between today and when Te Papa closes on August 23. Fill out a feather and inform some powerful people what your views are on conservation and kaitiakitanga (looking after the planet). Then grab an entry form and tell us what you think we should call Kākāpō. If our bunch of esteemed bird experts likes your name best of all, then we will send you and your family for a day surrounded by gorgeous native creatures in Zealandia. For free!

Not only that, but world-famous New Zealander Sirocco Kākāpō will announce the choice to the world every which way as fast as he can type (and he’s getting pretty good). The most famous kākāpō in the world is going to make you famous too!

Besides Te Papa, Kākāpō can be found in peaceful forest settings and on the

Discovery Centre host Keryn puts a feather onto the Words on a Wing kakapo | (c) Te Papa 2010

Discovery Centre host Keryn puts a feather onto the Words on a Wing kakapo | (c) Te Papa 2010

internet. Here are some peaceful electric glades you can find a Kākāpō or two:

1. The Words on a Wing page at DOC. It comes with photos so you can see where Kākāpō has been. There’s also a kit so you can make your own kākāpō in two or three dimensions. Astounding!

2. The hard-working men and women of the Kākāpō Recovery  programme have their own website. They’re based out of Whenua Hou-Codfish Island, which is off the west coast of Stewart Island. You can read about everything they do, and even follow it on their blog.

3. We in the Discovery Centres are not just pretty faces, though many of us are pretty, and those that aren’t pretty are quite handsome. If you go to our website, you can see what we have to visit, and maybe check out some of our cool school art projects, like the work that Te Kura Māori o Porirua did for Te Huka ā Tai. Definitely worth coming in for!

6 Responses

  1. David Lotering

    This sounds great me and my class room 7 at Maranatha Chistian School

    Reply
  2. Anja Neubauer

    Unfortunately Wellington is just on the other side of the earth… I am writing from the Netherlands and became a kakapo fan after visiting NZ and seeing “last chance to see” from the BBC on tele….I can only leave virtual feathers.

    Reply
  3. Anja Neubauer

    Hi, I just saw that you are looking for a name for the winged kakapo’s but you can only submit is personnally. I thought about a name and with some translation help I came up with Purahorua, which should mean “messenger”. Maybe you can add the name to the choices? Good luck with the “words on a wing campaign”!

    Anja

    Reply
  4. Sirocco kakapo

    Great likeness and even greater idea! Perhaps you could name it after yours truly and I could accompany it?

    Reply
  5. Levi

    I remember studying the kakapo many moons ago when I was at primary school, over 2 decades ago now. They where down to around 6?? if I remember correctly. The kakapo is a beautiful creature and I’m really stoked to see the hard work of everyone who’s been laboring tirelessly over the years on keeping them with us.

    Keep up the hard work, it’s a cool big bird you guys have made!

    Reply
  6. Al

    Great blog! I’ll send down some brochures soon. Or maybe even bring them down early next week and we can catch up for a coffee?

    Cheers,

    Al

    Reply

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