The hihi or stitchbird is a rare New Zealand passerine listed as ‘vulnerable’ by the IUCN and as ‘nationally endangered’ by New Zealand’s Department of Conservation. Hihi are sole representatives of a New Zealand endemic bird family, the Notiomystidae, that was historically widespread and common over the main North Island and surrounding offshore islands of the country. Following European colonisation of New Zealand the hihi suffered a rapid decline in range and numbers until by about 1890 they had become restricted to a single remnant population on the offshore island Te Hauturu-o-Toi (Little Barrier). The relatively unmodified forest ecosystem on Te Hauturu-o-Toi supports a hihi population estimated to be between 600 to 6000 birds. The rough terrain and isolation make reliable population estimates difficult.
Beginning in 1980, an ongoing national recovery program aims to increase the range and numbers of hihi using reintroduction. To date there have been 22 translocations to nine different locations.
Our work with hihi started when John was an undergraduate student in the early 1990’s where he volunteered on a research project on hihi reintroduced to Mokoia Island (1994). John then researched the reintroduction of hihi to Tiritiri Matangi Island (1995) for his MSC project. John has been involved with hihi research and management ever since and now chairs the Hihi Recovery Group along with the Department of Conservations Lynn Adams. Our hihi work is extensive and involves many fantastic partners and collaborators. So much so that we actually have our own dedicated website to the management of this species www.hihiconservation.com. For more information please check out the collection of relevant news posts below, visit www.hihiconservation.com, or contact us for more information.