Image of the March 2022 Wilderness Magazine Cover Read more from the
March 2022 Issue
Home / Articles / Walk 1200km

I’m walking for the kōkako

Julia Lile is helping save endangered birds.

Julia Lile is chalking up the Ks for Walk1200km by helping North Island kōkako to thrive again on Mt Pirongia.

Julia Lile’s employer, Westpac, gives staff a day off each year for volunteering. It was the nudge she needed to join the Pirongia Te Aroaro o Kahu Restoration Society last October.

“I decided to do something good,” Lile says. “There’s so much negativity around, especially with Covid, and this is a good way to detach myself from that.”

At the same time, she came across the Walk1200km challenge and signed up to keep herself focused and honest, and “just to see what I can do”.

Lile has lived in Pirongia for 19 years and is no stranger to the maunga’s trails. But she says volunteering with the restoration society has opened her eyes to the birds and plant life in the area.

In January, she was fortunate to hold a kōkako chick while it was being banded. Five chicks were banded in January.

Lile also lends a hand with pest control, checking and resetting traps, and restocking bait stations that target rats, possums and mustelids such as stoats.

The restoration society began its pest control efforts on Pirongia in 2006, in partnership with DOC and mana whenua, and has moved 44 kōkako to the mountain since 2017.

She keeps track of her walk1200km distances with a GPS.

Her advice to others: “Get out there and do it.”

Take Julia’s advice – start walking today! Register now.