Huttons Shearwater/Kaikōura tītī Sponsorship Update

In 2022, MainPower began a sponsorship with the Kaikōura Wildlife Centre Trust to support the Hutton’s shearwater bird. The Hutton’s shearwater is an endangered seabird endemic to Kaikōura, New Zealand. The only place in the world that this species breeds is high in the Seaward Kaikōura Ranges.


Below is a recent update from the Kaikōura Wildlife Centre Trust: 


Over the years significant numbers of Hutton’s shearwaters have been treated for injuries related to crash landing collision impact (e.g. head trauma, eye injuries, beak fractures, wing fractures), vehicle strike (e.g. wing fracture, leg fracture) and subsequent predation events (open bite wounds), as well as individuals in poor body condition (severely underweight due to decreased food sources). 


Young Hutton's shearwaters fledge during March and April, upon departing breeding colony burrows for their maiden sea voyage. During the peak fledgling period, there is the potential for hundreds of shearwaters to ground due to light disorientation in a single night. For example, 200 shearwaters crash landed in one night within the wider Sudima Hotel vicinity on the Esplanade in March 2023. 


Each year many receive treatment, enabling successful recovery and release; while a percentage require euthanasia to end suffering.  For an endangered species, aiding individual birds and safeguarding future breeding potential in the population is vital. Halting further decline relies on a community-wide effort and corporate responsibility. 


Light pollution mitigation measures the trust is exploring: 

  • Incorporating seabird-friendly lighting requirements such as warm yellow lighting that is 2,000 - 2,200K compared to the standard 2,200 - 2,700K.

  • Adjustments to ensure lighting is downward facing and shielded or hooded (particularly on streetlights). This minimises the risk of light pollution and lateral or upward light spill which could disorient the birds.

  • Education will be provided to the community around the best practice standards for installing responsible lighting that complies with seabird-friendly requirements. 


The trust is also dedicated to educating the public on best practices to rescue any injured or grounded shearwaters.


For more information about the Kaikōura Wildlife Centre Trust and the work they do, please click here