Three takahe released on Motutapu Island

  • 29/08/2015
Takahe (AAP)
Takahe (AAP)

Three takahe have been released on Motutapu Island, a fortnight after four of the endangered birds were killed when a pukeko cull went horribly wrong.

Three takahe were released on the Hauraki Gulf island on Thursday, Department of Conservation spokesman Nick Hirst says.

The birds were scheduled to be released even before the deaths of four takahe were discovered earlier this month.

The Deerstalkers' Association has apologised after its members shot the protected birds during an organised cull of pukeko.

DOC has said the hunters were carefully briefed on the difference between takahe and pukeko and were told to only shoot birds in flight as takahe can't fly.

DOC has halted pukeko culls on Motutapu and all others areas with takahe.

"This release is another step in the work we're doing to establish a breeding population of up to 20 breeding pair of takahe on Motutapu," Mr Hirst said.

"This will create the largest takahe population outside Fiordland, a crucial step in securing the future of takahe," he said.

The four takahe killed were buried in a traditional Maori ceremony on Thursday, Radio New Zealand reports.

DOC is investigating how the four takahe were killed.