Natural Heritage

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Articles by various authors on the unique natural and cultural heritage of the Chatham Islands and the ongoing efforts to conserve it.  If you’d like to contribute an article contact dave@kiwifavourites.co.nz

Weka on the hunt

What’s the story with weka?

Weka are part of the Chatham Island identity. Indeed, people born on Chatham Island call themselves “Weka”, as opposed to “Kiwi” for people born on the New Zealand mainland. And so it is a surprise to many people that weka are not native to the Chatham Islands and that they can be hunted.

Weka belong to a group of birds called rails. The Chatham Islands originally had seven species of rail but now (following the arrival of humans) there are only 3 surviving species – pukeko, spotless crake and marsh crake.  The three surviving species are widely distributed throughout New Zealand and the southwest Pacific, reaching the edge of their range on the Chatham Islands.