Whenua Hou, or Codfish Island, is a large, bush-covered island about 3km off the wild west coast of Stewart Island. It provides kākāpō with a 1400ha home that is very similar to their original habitat of Stewart Island, and is now the centre for kākāpō recovery in New Zealand.
This was dramatically illustrated by the phenomenal breeding event of 2002, when 24 chicks were added to the kākāpō population in a matter of months and again in 2009 when 33 chicks hatched.
Two kākāpō staff work on Whenua Hou, and have to put up with an isolated location and the wild weather of New Zealand’s deep south. It has no roads and is reached by light plane or helicopter.
The island is a specially-protected nature reserve, and no unauthorised landing is permitted.