By 1976 there were only seven Chatham Islands' black robins left. It was the world's rarest bird. In a bid to save the species, the surviving birds are taken from one island to another more hospitable island in a desperate rescue mission. This is part of an incredible conservation success story led by Don Merton and his NZ Wildlife Service team. With Project Takahē, this documentary captured viewers' imaginations, and was one of the first in the acclaimed Wild South series of 'rare bird' films, which were foundational for TVNZ’s Natural History Unit (later NHNZ).
When we filmed that very first robin being released there was just the sound man [Merv Aitchison] and myself, Brian Bell (the leader of the expedition) and Tony Billing (a Wildlife Service trainee). We saw the box lid open and the little bird flew out. Tony stood back and said, "Oh! Corker! Corker! Corker!"– Paul Donovan, cameraman
Stock footage from this programme can be licensed at www.nhnzmovingimages.com
Made in cooperation with the NZ Wildlife Service.