Friday, 19 August 2022

Kōkako Linocut - Song of Hope for Predator Free NZ 2050

"Hope", Limited edition linocut, by Toni Hartill

My recent linocut "Hope", expressing the new found hope for the endangered North Island kōkako, will be exhibited as part of the Predator Free NZ 2050 exhibitions, opening soon in the Auckland region.

"Hope", Limited edition linocut, by Toni Hartill


Good news story: 

Record number of kōkako breeding pairs counted in the Hunua Ranges. 

At last, something to sing about!

A record number of 229 adult kōkako breeding pairs have been counted in the Hunua Ranges, as reported in June 2022*, up from 106 pairs in 2018, and just 25 birds in 1994!

While the idea of Aotearoa being “predator free” by 2050 seems like an incredibly lofty goal, this news is a strong sign of hope for the North Island kōkako, and, in turn, for many other native species. On closer inspection, the aim of the Predatorfree2050 campaign focuses on the elimination specifically of rats, possums and mustelids and thanks to the supreme efforts of dedicated volunteers and conservationists across the country, this goal is looking entirely achievable.

Feeling constantly harangued by endless “bad news” stories, this news rang out loud and clear as an absolute song of hope for the future.

FURTHER READING: Kōkako Thriving in Auckland's Hunua Ranges, June 2022

"The targeted management area has been using 3000 bait stations and 200 traps a year, aimed at catching pests like possums, rats and mustelids..." 

NZGeographic: Kōkako

"With resurging numbers... conservationists are optimistic 
that their haunting song will again flood through the forests of the North Island." 

Scroll to the end of this post for more links on the progress 
being made to rebuild the kōkako population.

Predator Free NZ 2050

40 invited NZ artists are taking part in the 

Predator Free New Zealand 2050 exhibitions, 

planned and curated by Valerie Cuthbert, 

to highlight the progress and understanding 

of this incredible goal. 

Estuary Arts Centre

214B Hibiscus Coast Highway, Orewa

5th September - 2 October, 2022

Opening event: Sat 10th September, 3-5pm


Auckland Botanic Gardens

102 Hill Road, Manurewa

21 October - 14 November, 2022

The Making of HOPE

Trying to capture their song!

Carved "Hope" lino by Toni Hartill

Once I decided to celebrate the success of the kōkako population in Auckland's Hunua Ranges, I really wanted to capture their song as this, along with their striking blue wattles, is what makes these beautiful birds so distinct. 

Detail of " Hope" linocut by Toni Hartill

It was been said that the kōkako has 

Detail of " Hope" linocut by Toni Hartill

I've been lucky enough to see and hear kōkako up close in the "wild" and they are truly enchanting. Not great fliers they tend to hop and glide through the forest using their strong, long legs to maintain forward momentum by springing off branches, while flapping their stumpy wings to maintain height. 

Carved "Hope" lino, in progress, by Toni Hartill

In designing my composition I perched a breeding pair amongst native flora,
overlooking Auckland's Hunua Ranges. 

Carved "Hope" lino, in progress, by Toni Hartill

Related to the long extinct and iconic Huia, to see these birds thrive and to rebuild their population is incredibly special and exciting. The work done to protect the kōkako is in turn helping other native species such as the kākā, tomtits, bellbirds, long-tiled bats and Hochstetters frogs which is wonderful indeed! 

All a reason for renewed hope for the future 
and to support the continuation of this incredibly important work.

Drawing & Researching




Colour mixing


Colouring the Wattles



"Hope", Linocut, Limited edition print by Toni Hartill


Edition of 15
Image size: A3, 297 x 420 mm
Paper size: A2, 420 x 594mm

Framed: $385
(A2 Natural Timber Frame)

Unframed: $235 
(Packaged in cello sleeve with backing board and mat.)

"Hope" will be available 
to purchase, framed and unframed at

Estuary Arts Centre, Orewa, 

5th September - 2 October, 2022

Opening event: Sat 10th September, 3-5pm


Auckland Botanic Gardens

21 October - 14 November, 2022

Or CONTACT me direct.

Many thanks for visiting!

For more information about kōkako visit: 

North Island kōkako recovery plan and how you can help.

Did you know?

"In Māori myth, the kōkako filled it's wattles with water and brought it to Maui as he fought the sun. Maui rewarded the bird by making it's legs long and slender, enabling it to bound through the forest with ease."

Pest control allows Pureora kōkako to flourish.

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