Author Maria Gill delves into the world of the elusive kokako, taking you on a fascinating journey to find out how the remarkable New Zealand wattlebird is being saved from extinction.
Read a true story of one conservationist's successful quest to save ten kokako from the chainsaws of a logging company.
Explore the rich illustrations by award winning artist Heather Arnold.
A gift book for the whole family to treasure.

Shortlisted for:

  • 2012 LIANZA Non Fiction Award – Elsie Locke Medal
  • Shortlisted for the 2012 LIANZA Illustration Award - Russell Clark Award
  • 2012 Storylines Notable Book in the non-fiction category

ISBN: 978-1-86966-294-3
RRP: $29.99
Publisher: New Holland Publishers
Designer/illustrator: Heather Arnold


A real beauty, written by teacher and environmentalist Maria Gill ... Read More

Reviewed by Crissi Blair in New Zealand Herald, July 2011

'In today's visual world the visual image is (just about) everything; so when a book is produced to a high quality and it scream 'Pick me up! Read me!', the book lover in me can't help but feel excited. Call of the Kokako is just such a book. Produced in a beautiful hardback which resembles a leather-look photo album, it just begs to be read and savoured. And on opening the cover one is not disappointed.... A truly stunning book, Call of the Kokako, is highly recommended for all library collections.'

Reviewed by Julie Harper in Magpies Magazine, August 2011

JM: It's a beautiful book.

KR: Absolutely stunning book.

JM: It's a celebration of our people and our natural heritage and the efforts that small groups of conservationists made to save the kokako which at last count is down to 2000 birds and in fact the South Island is extinct.

JM: It is a presentation that is beautiful.

JM: It's breathtaking much of it due to Heather Arnold's photo-realistic illustrations.
Superbly drawn pictures of not just birds in all their majestic beauty but detailed anatomical diagrams, pictures of them in the bush, there's a section on the predators that threaten them, the people who are trying to protect them.

JM: Maria Gill's storytelling is just as exceptional. She totally understands how to present non-fiction to children in a way they want to read it...

Reviewed by John McIntyre in Nine to Noon, Radio New Zealand, Friday 23rd September 2011

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Journal Note

I interviewed Carmel Richardson – a kiwi expert at Kiwi Encounter – while writing the Operation Nest Egg book and she suggested I write a book about kokako.

I discovered that no one had written a book about the elusive kokako before. My investigations involved a weekend stay on Tiritiri Matangi Island to watch kokako being captured; an early morning visit to Auckland Zoo to see quarantine checks on kokako; a trip to the Hunua Ranges and and Tiritiri Matangi to see kokako being released; a drive to Matahina Forest in Rotorua to see what was left of the native forest and a visit to Kaharoa School.

Illustrator Heather Arnold and I took stacks of photographs and talked to many people who were making sure kokako will be here for generations to come ...

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