FlySafe 2018 is here!

Our young Titi are getting ready to fledge and will begin their maiden flights from the mountains to the sea from early March to mid April. As they fly at night, they can become disorientated by bright lights in and around Kaikoura and crash-land before they reached the sea. Once on the ground, the birds are unable to take off by themselves and are at risk to be killed by cars, cats or dogs.

Find out HOW YOU CAN HELP to rescue fallen birds here or by consulting our posters.

Crash landed birds

We have had several recent (September/October 2017) incidents of birds crash landing outside of the “normal” season of March/April. Lorna Deppe (a Trustee leading a paper on the ‘fallout’ phenomenon to be published in December this year) has put together the following guide on what to do if you come across Hutton’s shearwater on the ground.

HS awareness poster

When driving through Kaikoura, please watch out for birds on the road! SLOW DOWN and avoid roadkill. Hutton’s shearwater, once on the ground, are unable to move out of your way.

Bird of the Year 2017

Voting for the annual Bird of the Year is now underway. This year is the year of Hutton’s shearwater/tītī! Tītī are a tāonga of Ngāi Tahu, an icon of Kaikōura, and have sustained considerable losses from the earthquake. HSCT has a research programme approved and funded for this summer which will provide a clear picture of earthquake damage from which a clear direction for future management will emerge. Bird of the Year status would provide a springboard to launch a funding drive to provide the ongoing management necessary to ensure that not only do the tītī of Kaikōura survive, but they thrive!

Tītī have long been a species of importance to Māori and to the Ngāti Kuri people of Kaikōura. The story of Rakihouia is well known; when his party set foot on the shores of Kaikōura, his pregnant wife Tapuiti craved eggs. After observing seabirds flying into the mountains, Rakihouia sent men to the cliffs and mountains to find eggs, which they duly did. This tradition of use was acknowledged by the naming of the Ka Whata Tu o Rakihouia Conservation Park, “The standing storehouse of Rakihouia”. The significance of Tītī to Ngāi Tahu was also acknowledged in the Ngāi Tahu Claims Settlement Act 1998 which list Hutton’s Shearwater as a tāonga species.

The bountiful seafood of Kaikōura is well known, less well known were the large wetlands providing many resources, and when combined with the additional food resources of the Tītī, Kaikōura was a very treasured environment in which to live. Perhaps more than any other species, tītī provide the link between the mountains and sea which is so iconic to Kaikōura.

When the earthquake struck, the people and environment of Kaikōura were severely affected. The tītī were nesting with chicks high in the mountains, and many were swept away. At least 10 – 15% of colonies were destroyed by landslides, and some preliminary work showed that significant numbers of burrows had collapsed. Tens of thousands of birds were lost. A site survey is planned this summer to determine the impact of the earthquake on the birds.

The Trust wants to use the Bird of the Year and the summer research as a springboard from which to launch active management of Tītī to secure their future and the Trust’s vision of flourishing populations. Having Hutton’s Shearwater/titī as Bird of the Year would put it in the limelight and help obtain the funding necessary for ongoing management. If ever it is to win this accolade, it should be this year after the devastating Kaikōura earthquake. So please vote in this year’s Bird of the Year at Voting is open now and closes on 23rd October.

Congratulation to Patron Geoff Harrow for a well deserved honour

Announced today that Hutton’s Sheartwater Charitable Trust founder and patron Geoff Harrow has received the QSM for services to mountaineering and conservation.

Well done Geoff – an award much deserved, in recognition of outstanding achievement.

Chairman Ted Howard on behalf of all trustees.

Geoff holding a hutton's chick in the new colony he was foundational in building.

Geoff holding a hutton’s chick in the new colony he was foundational in building.

Kaikoura Earthquake

The recent earthquake caused widespread damage throughout many areas of North Canterbury and Marlborough. Kaikoura was especially hard hit, with the coastal landscape undergoing dramatic changes in just a few short minutes. Our Trustees seem to have come out of it reasonably well, though their stoic “I’m OK” assertions may well have disguised much more serious situations with regard to their property. Obviously this event will have major effects on the people and economy of Kaikoura for a long time to come. The two Hutton’s shearwater mountain colonies were also affected by major landslides which covered parts of both colonies. It is not yet clear what impact this has had on the populations; this will have to wait for an on the ground assessment when it is deemed safe and resources permit (we welcome any donations to help with this through our Givealittle page). Initial estimates indicate that 10 – 30% of the two sites have been affected. The timing was unfortunate with breeding in full swing, and many birds being underground at this time of night. These events highlight the reasons for their ‘At Risk – Declining’ conservation status, a status which may need revision in the light of these events. Though their total population is relatively high their breeding colonies occupy a relatively small area, at constant risk from landslides and avalanches, as well as predation and trampling. The good news is that both the infrastructure and birds at the Te Rae o Atiu colony appear to have escaped unscathed. When we have any updates they will be posted on our Facebook page.

The photo below shows the valley below the hut.


HSCT Newsletter – Issue 19 – November 2016


  • Ted’s Talk – From the Chair
  • Te Rae o Atiu – Colony report and maintenance
  • Welcome back events
  • International presentations
  • Education report
  • University research report
  • Hutton’s shearwater “fallout”
  • Works of art

Read the latest HSCT newsletter here:

Project Coordinators appointed

Coordinators appointed:

The Hutton’s Shearwater Charitable Trust recently appointed husband and wife team Elspeth Wingham and John Preece in the role of Project Coordinator for the Trust. Elspeth is a former Chair of the Trust, with a Ph.D. in marine birds, and currently splits her time between picking flowers at their Conway Flat property and babysitting her grand daughter. John works mainly in the field of wetlands.

Their main goal is to secure long term funding to achieve the aims of the Trust.

Buy Hutton’s shearwater tees and polos!

The Trust offers tees and polos in a variety of styles (unisex, ladies, kids) and colours (navy, blue, white, pink, green) under the Merchandise section of this website.

By purchasing our merchandise you directly help conservation of the endangered Hutton’s shearwater. Thank you!


Buy Clare Reilly’s new Hutton’s shearwater print

50 individually counter signed Hutton’s shearwater prints by Clare Reilly now available. All sale profits will go directly towards Hutton’s shearwater conservation.

Print size is 400 x 400, paper size is 560 x 560. Cost is $250 each including GST, packaging and postage.

You can purchase the print via this website under the Merchandise section, or email





Hutton’s Hub opening – Friday 4 March 2016

Launching the Hoki Ora Atu Tītī /Fly Safe Hutton’s Shearwater event.

Join us at our Hutton’s Hub opening this Friday 4 March 2016, adjacent to the Department of Conservation office, 115 Ludstone Road, Kaikoura. 10am-4pm. All welcome!

The ‘Hutton’s Hub’ will serve as the drop-off point for Hutton’s shearwater fledglings crash landing around the Kaikoura township each March/April due to light disorientation.

Enjoy guest speakers, children’s activities, nibbles, Hutton’s displays, viewing of the Hutton’s Hub, and viewing a Hutton’s shearwater chick from the Kaikoura Peninsula colony!

Hutton’s Hub Opening