[April 4, 2010]
Five-year-old Zara Guthrie,
of Kerikeri, awaits her turn to stroke one of 30 toutouwai [North Island
robins] before it is released into Puketi Forest.
The diminutive songbirds disappeared from the forest 100 years ago, most
likely due to logging and the arrival of rats. After years of intensive
pest trapping by a group of dedicated volunteers, the forest is ready for
the birds' re-introduction. They were caught near Otorohanga, where they
are still plentiful, and flown to Puketi by helicopter.