Ngā Manu Nature Reserve

It’s Friday again and as usual, the day was devoted to the camera and getting out into Nature. Our destination this week was Ngā Manu Nature Reserve in Waikanae. It had been a while since we had visited so decided to get there good and early to ensure we beat any crowds. We succeeded in that, there was only two cars in the carpark, and I suspect they were staff cars.

Red crowned kākāriki

We visited the kākāriki and kākā aviary first. One of the things I like about Ngā Manu is the aviaries that we can walk through. The red crowned kākāriki were feeding on some flax flowers when we arrived and we managed to get some great images of them. The kākā decided early on that he wanted in on the act too. He likes to get up close to guests, like on your shoulder or your head – he’s not fussy.

Not long after we arrived in the aviary, one of the keepers joined us. She was there to clean out the food tray, hose down the floor and feed the birds. We got talking and she told us how they were short staffed today, and she was running a bit late. She asked if we wanted to help, and that is how I came to be hosing out the aviary, getting a little wet and having a load of fun!


From there we visited the whio / blue duck aviary, another one where we can photograph the birds without netting between us and them. There were a pair on the edge of their pond watching us enter and they were quite happy to let us photograph them.

Blue Duck / Whio

Next came a very grumpy kea named Jimmy, in his aviary. When we entered the aviary he was strutting around with his feathers fluffed up trying to tell the keeper to leave. She was looking for the reason why the pond was empty. She showed us where they had some rocks covering a pipe that is usually capped, and after lifting the rocks she found the cap gone. The empty pond was no longer a mystery, and a few minutes later she found the cap across the aviary under some leaves. Jimmy had taken it upon himself to get the pond ready for cleaning for her.

Kea (Jimmy)

We wandered past the tuatara enclosures where most of them were out where we could see them. We also went for a short walk in the bush and found a couple of tui who stayed still long enough to photograph. We were only there a couple of hours, but when more people started entering the park, we decided it was time to leave.


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