Forest restoration and protection on
Bluff Hill and Bluff Harbour environments


News article

South Island Robin Release

BHMET is very pleased to announce that after 8 years of hard work the translocation of the South Island Robin (Kakaruai) to Bluff Hill Motupōhue took place on March 1 and March 4. Volunteers from BHMET along with DOC staff travelled to Waikaia and caught 41 robins that were released into the forest; 23 on the first release and 18 on the second. It has been many decades since the call of the Kakaruai was heard on Ngai Tahu’s sacred Topuni site ‘Motupōhue’ and the Trust is thrilled to be fulfilling our pledge to “bring back the bird song” to Bluff Hill. This milestone is a credit to all the hard-working volunteers both past and present who have worked to control pest animal numbers; this is the ultimate reward for all our efforts. BHMET would like to acknowledge our partners, Blacks Fasteners Limited and Invercargill City Council, for their generous support, to thank the Hokonui Runanga for allowing us to bring their precious manu/birds to their new home, to thank Te Runanga O Awarua, especially Dean Whaanga, who blessed the robins at the release, to congratulate all our volunteers both past and present, and to thank DOC and Environment Southland for their steadfast support. Next time you take a walk on the Glory track you may be lucky enough to hear or even see one. BHMET has received overwhelming support from locals and visitors following the release. We’re receiving regular updates on sightings of the robins, which we hope are adapting nicely to their beautiful new forest on Bluff Hill Motupōhue.


  • South Island robins are friendly and trusting, often coming to within a couple of metres of people, being attracted to invertebrates disturbed by the activities of people.
  • The robin’s strong descending call of five or more notes is repeated often and makes their presence obvious.
  • NZ robins are relatively long-lived, surviving up to 14 years where few or no predators exist.