New Zealand Wildlife - The Miranda Shorebird Centre

The Miranda Shorebird Centre is located alongside the waters of the Firth of Thames, just over an hour south of Auckland. On our visit we were captivated by the story of one bird in particular, the story of the Bar-tailed Godwit. Thousands of these beautiful birds arrive in New Zealand at the same time each year and the journey they undertake to get to New Zealand is nothing short of incredible.
The Pukeroko Miranda Shorebird Centre

This story was inspired by a report on the "The Global Flyway Network" website.

In 2007 scientists and enthusiasts from across the planet were glued to Google Earth as they followed the incredible journey of 16 Bar-tailed Godwits that had been tagged and then released at the Miranda Shorebird Centre in New Zealand. The Godwits were fitted with small, lightweight devices, Platform Transmitter Terminals (PTTs) that transmitted signals to orbiting satellites.

Scientists were able to follow the northern migration of these charismatic sandpipers from New Zealand to Alaska. Their flight from New Zealand to their stop-off point in China was approximately 5,000 miles, flying nonstop for seven days to get there, and then, after a month of rest, flying another 3,100 miles to their breeding grounds in Alaska.

Later, one of these birds, designated ‘E7′ was tracked on its return to New Zealand, a 9 day non-stop flight of 7,200 miles, confirming that this species were not only capable of such a journey, but were routinely undertaking it every year when they return to New Zealand from Alaska. 

The entire journey covered by the celebrated ‘E7′ was an unbelievable 18,000 miles.


Like many species, the Godwit is under threat and the population is falling by around 2% a year. Much of this is caused by land being reclaimed for development in the path of their northern migration, particularly in Korea and China. 

New Zealand Vacations

You can view Godwits and the hundreds of other bird species that visit Miranda during the year. The staff at the Miranda Centre will provide a map of the walking track that follows the shoreline. 

We can assist you in having the Miranda Shorebird Centre included in your New Zealand Vacation. Just click here to let us know if you are interested in making a visit.


Godwits at The Pukeroko Miranda Shorebird Centre.


Over 20,000 Pied Oystercatchers can be found at Miranda and on the Firth of Thames from late summer (March)


Up to 2500 Wrybill, around 40% of the total number, also flock at Miranda for the non breeding season.


At the same time there may also be hundreds of Banded Dotterel.

Lindsay Barron

Lindsay Barron • Dec 27, 2016