In December the Department of Conservation announced that seven critically endangered shore plover chicks have hatched on pest-free Motutapu Island in the Hauraki Gulf, and in early February, the Pūkaha National Wildlife Centre released four juvenile shore plover on Motutapu Island.
Endemic to New Zealand, the shore plover / tūturuatu were once widespread around the coast of the North and South Islands but were driven to the brink of extinction by rats and other introduced predators.
In 1990 there were only 130 shore plover / tūturuatu All these birds were on one island, predator free Rangatira Island in the Chatham Islands.
Today the total population of shore plover / tūturuatu in New Zealand is around 245. Shore plover were first released on pest-free Motutapu in 2012 – a year after Motutapu and neighbouring Rangitoto were declared pest-free.