Known for their boisterous calls and mischievous mid-air antics, flocks of kākā were once widespread throughout New Zealand.  Population numbers are difficult to estimate accurately, but it is believed there are only between 1,000 and 5,000 kākā remaining across the entire country.

Introduced mammalian predators have decimated the population.  The kākā make their nests deep in the hollows of trees, which leaves these birds little escape from smaller predators like rats, stoats and possums who can climb inside and trap them.  Female kākā are most at risk with their eggs, and the young are extremely vulnerable to attack.

Kākā have a large roaming range, which means they require large forest areas for survival.  Deforestation for farming and logging has had a disastrous effect.

Considered an at-risk species in New Zealand, kākā need our help!

Species: North Island kākā / bush parrot / Nestor meridionalis
Location: Endemic to New Zealand
Status: Threatened: Nationally Vulnerable
Threats:  Predation by stoats, rats & possums, and loss of habitat are the primary cause of decline

Taking action to conserve Kākā­

Conservation Volunteers New Zealand, as part of its Wild Futures Program, is taking action by mobilising volunteers, local communities, government and business partners to protect and enhance kākā recovery by:

  • Building and establishing nesting boxes
  • Predator control
  • Planting food species
  • Growing food species in our nursery
  • Monitoring of population
  • Education

Ultimately, our goal is to ensure kākā continue to survive and flourish in the wild. Through the Wild Futures program, Conservation Volunteers is working with partners including the Department of Conservation, Zealandia, Wellington City Council, Forest & Bird and others on kākā projects throughout the country to ensure a Wild Future for this vulnerable parrot.

Description and distribution

The kākā is a large species of parrot found throughout New Zealand forests. Known for their boisterous calls and mischievous mid-air antics, flocks of kākā gather to socialise mornings and evenings. This behaviour led to Maori referring to them as chattering gossips.  In recent years, successful breeding in Zealandia has led to common sightings across the capital city.

Endemic to New Zealand, kākā have two sub-species – the North Island Kākā and the South Island Kākā.  Both are a large, sturdy-looking parrot, olive-brown in colour with red-orange underneath their wings and a grey-white crown. Flying noisily in flocks, these birds often become quiet and shy when alone.  Their call is a distinctive, repeated shrill ‘kaaa’ when flying high and a sharp ‘kraak’ when alarmed.

Help save the Kākā

You can be a part of this important recovery effort by volunteering to help kākā in Wellington or donating to our Wild Futures program to ensure that these birds have a Wild Future.

We make it easy for people to make a difference and help protect kākā in the wild.


Would you like to give the kākā a Wild Future? You can do so by donating through our secure online system.


By volunteering on one of our field projects, you can make a practical contribution and help give the kākā a Wild Future.

Further information

View kākā on the Department of Conservation’s website