The tiny, secretive marsh crake (Porzana pusilla affinis) known to iwi as koitareke or kotoreke is known from the Chatham Islands on the basis of one specimen collected by Henry H. Travers in 1872 and a 1997 report of a bird calling in response to a tape played at Te […]
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.