Ngā Manu Nature Reserve

Connecting people with the natural world since 1974

Autumn is a magical time to visit and rediscover the real New Zealand and all its wonderful flora and fauna.

Ngā Manu offers a glimpse back in time to when a vast lowland swamp sprawled across the Kāpiti Coast from the Tararuas down to the ocean dunes. There is a precious remnant of this forest at the heart of Ngā Manu Nature Reserve. The main forest trail loops under a canopy of  giant kahikatea, pukatea, rare swamp maire and kohekohe; with it’s incredible blooms of scented white flowers appearing in late May/ early  June.

At this time of year the ponds are full of assorted waterfowl, berries are ripening in the forest and kererū, tūī and pīwakawaka are everywhere – the autumn song is inspiring. You will experience both forest and wetland habitats, encountering kākā, kea and kākāriki in walk-through  aviaries and kiwi in a nocturnal house environment. Besides the encounters with captive species, visitors can experience a mix of beautiful  recreational spaces which include nature nooks, open lawns, and picnic spots adjacent to wetlands.

Protecting our native species

Ngā Manu’s staff work towards the restoration of many at risk species. Over the last year Ngā Manu’s conservation efforts have resulted in  yellow crowned kākāriki being established on Puangiangi Island in the Marlborough Sounds, pāteke (brown teal) being released into South  Island sites, moko kākāriki (Wellington green geckos/barking geckos) released onto nearby Mana Island and brown kiwi being bred and  transferred both into the wild and to other organisations. Ngā Manu’s Kiwi Night Encounters are a wonderful way to have close encounters  with kiwi and the earlier dusk makes Autumn the perfect time of year to bring along your younger family members.

The Dwellbeings sculpture trail is another way to engage children as they seek out eight tiny hut-like artworks along the main forest loop  walk. Ngā Manu has family-friendly events throughout the year; their Easter celebration runs from Good Friday through to Easter Monday,  with activities and competitions throughout the long weekend.



Open 364 days a year from 10am to 5pm. Closed Christmas Day.
  • Buggy and wheelchair friendly
  • Feed Manaaki Tuna (long fin eel) at 2 pm daily
  • Discover the DWELLBEINGS sculptures by artists Kemi & Niko
Book or gift an experience
  • 11 am Feed-Out Tour – Discover the unique personalities of the Ngā Manu wildlife as you join the morning feeding round.
  • Ranger Experience (age 7+) – Go behind the scenes with a wildlife Ranger from 8:30 am to 12:30 pm.
  • Kiwi Night Encounter (age 7+) – An intimate experience observing the secret lives of kiwi every Thursday to Sunday at dusk (limited to 10 people).
  • Stay the night in Theo’s Cottage – Enjoy the magic of Ngā Manu all to yourself and wake up to an incredible dawn chorus. (sleeps up to 4 people).
Venues at Ngā Manu:
  • Robin’s Nest – The perfect venue for your function or event, with bi-folding doors onto a large deck and private lawn with views over the  main pond. It accommodates up to 90 people.
  • BBQ Island – located in the centre of the main pond provides a covered barbeque facility and seating for up to 60 people.