The kookaburra is a rare bird in New Zealand. The population was probably started by Sir George Grey, who released kookaburras on Kawau Island. Kookaburras are still mainly found in areas relatively close to Kawau. There were isolated sightings in Rangiora in the 1980s and Hamilton in 1994.
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Source: C. J. R. Robertson, P. Hyvönen, M. J. Fraser, and C. R. Pickard, Atlas of bird distribution in New Zealand 1999–2004. Wellington: Ornithological Society of New Zealand, 2007