Wildlife corridor being carved out on Chatham Islands to give threatened species a safe pathway

A wildlife corridor is being carved out on Rēkohu (the Chatham Islands), giving threatened species a safe pathway through the mainland.

One area of native bush is being fenced off and pests are being eliminated so birds like the tīwaiwaka (fantail) and tui are better protected.

The journey north through the Rēkohu wilderness is a dangerous one for threatened species, including elusive birds like the red-crowned parakeet, fantails, and tui.

Traps are set all across the native bush aim to eliminate the biggest risks: rats and possums.

"They do destroy the trees quite severely," said project lead Rob Thomas. "They get into the nests and eat the eggs."

In the short time Newshub was there, three possums had been trapped close to each other. It's all part of creating a safe stop-off for birds to feed and breed.

"The south and western and eastern coasts can be connected as birds come through and fly in," Thomas explained.

That connection was made possible with a $360,000 fund through the Jobs for Nature programme.

"We've got something here I believe that's worth saving," Thomas said.

To help save it, a network of fences around the 6.5-hectare patch of native bush keeps cattle and other large animals out, allowing threatened Rēkohu-endemic flora and fauna to thrive naturally.

Ropata Thomas' roots are here amongst the forest where he played as a child. He named it Miriam's Reserve, after his mum.

"She'd love what we're doing," he said.

As should the birds, who are starting to flourish.