Wellington drivers urged to slow for kereru in new road signs

  • 08/12/2017
At least 30 kereru have been killed in Wellington this year.
At least 30 kereru have been killed in Wellington this year. Photo credit: Getty

A new road sign has appeared on some Wellington roads in a move to protect one of New Zealand's native birds.

Motorists driving near the Zealandia wildlife sanctuary and Otari-Wiltons' Bush are being urged to "slow for kereru".

Conservationists say that, while numbers of the wood pigeon are on the increase in the capital, so is bird mortality.

Tony Stoddard, from the Kereru Discovery project, says he knows of at least 30 birds hit and killed by cars over the past year.

"When taking off, kereru often take a while to get elevation and so are at risk of being hit by cars, especially where there is vegetation close to the ground that they are feeding on," he said.

"It's heartbreaking to pick up dead birds from the roadside."

The signs are a partnership project between Kereru Discover, the NZ Transport Agency and Wellington City Council.

City councillor Andy Foster said that, when Mr Stoddard raised the issue in July, it was discovered that there was no gazetted kereru road sign in New Zealand.

He praised council and NZTA staff for the speed with which they designed and gazetted the signs, which can now be officially used across the country.