Humans have a deep fascination with penguins and these incredible creatures have inspired countless movies, jokes, cartoons and TV shows. Their anthropomorphic qualities, more than those of any other bird, have captured our attention. Penguins remind us of ourselves, with their upright stance, arm-like flippers, suit-like appearance and waddling walk. They even have relationships and communicate with each other in ways that are similar to our own. Observing these fascinating creatures leaves us with a sense of wonderment and often brings a smile to our faces. On Waiheke we have kororā/little blue penguins, the smallest of the penguin species.

The Waiheke community, individuals and organisations from Auckland and around New Zealand have come together to protect and rehabilitate the endangered kororā. Recently, a dedicated kororā rehabilitation habitat was built at Native Bird Rescue’s facilities thanks to support from Sacred Blessing Sanctuary Gardens. With the help of a local landowner and his team, a kororā kāinga (Little Blue Penguin Village) was built in an undisclosed location on private land. This includes a soft-release enclosure and the initial ten nest boxes and is a part of a ten-year project to establish the first-ever kororā rehabilitation colony in New Zealand. All rehabilitated kororā will be released from this enclosure after a short stay in order for them to ‘imprint’ on the location. This will increase the chance of them returning to the sanctuary to breed and over time it is hoped they will create a self-sustaining colony.

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