About us

CROW is a volunteer group which was formed to care for the large colony of abandoned roosters at the Onetangi Sports Park on Waiheke Island. We have a rostered feeding schedule (a ‘rooster roster’) whereby a different volunteer visits each day to ensure that the roosters have a base supply of food and water in addition to scraps dropped off by members of the public. All food is paid for by donations. We also keep an eye on the health and wellbeing of the birds and take them to the vet if necessary.


In the late 1990s a group of roosters started to accumulate at Waiheke Island’s Matiatia Wharf. Probably they came from backyard chook keepers who ended up with unwanted males. Perhaps not wanting to kill these lovable but rowdy fellows, but not knowing what else to do with them, they dropped them here. Tourists and locals fed them and the roosters became something of an island attraction.

Consequently when numbers increased and the council stepped in, proposing to cull the birds, the community pushed back in true Waihekian style. Council were persuaded to instead relocate them, and the current colony at the entrance to Onetangi Sports Park was established.

The ROOSTERS today

Today over 60 roosters live at the park. They have been joined by probably twice that number of feathered freeloaders in the form of wild mallard ducks, who take advantage of the daily buffet. Numerous locals visit the park to feed the roosters. Many people bring their kids, or visitors to the island, to see them. It is even a popular stop with most of the island’s tour companies. Volunteers also visit daily to ensure that the boys have a steady supply of food and water. The food is funded by donations from a few generous locals, but we still often struggle to make ends meet. If you would like to help by making a one-off or ongoing donation, please click here for bank account details.

The dark side of the rooster colony

To a visitor it might seem as though the roosters have a great life – roaming free, hanging out with their mates and getting fed every day. However, while they are certainly better off in some ways than many of their species, life at the park is not all bread and skittles.

  • A large group of males such as this is an unnatural situation and leads to infighting – new arrivals, the weak, sick or injured can be viciously bullied and even killed by the other birds.
  • Not everyone is kind enough to slow down on the road that runs through the roosters’ home and often they are hit by cars.
  • The park is also a popular dog walking destination and others are mauled by uncontrolled canines.
  • In 2017 some local youths found it entertaining to torture and kill the birds. They were eventually apprehended by police, but not before reducing the flock to approximately one third of its size. Some people will catch birds to eat, and it is uncertain how humanely they are killed.
  • The trees at the park provide minimal shelter from the elements and the roosters do suffer in bad weather. Many modern breeds have feathers which are not waterproof and provide little protection from rain and cold.*
  • Every month a few birds disappear or are found dead, or maimed so badly they must be euthanised. Currently there is no budget for vet care. WISCA (the Waiheke version of the SPCA) will cover euthanasia but not treatment. We would love to provide better care for our feathered friends. If you would like to make a one-off or ongoing donation, please click here if you would rather donate via internet banking.
  • The ducks are not immune from these perils either. An additional problem for them is the quantities of bread they end up consuming, which is bad for their health and will eventually kill them.

What is the solution?


We encourage people who have chickens to avoid producing unwanted roosters in the first place. Typically at least half of any clutch of eggs will be males, which will end up being either killed or dumped. If you wish to have laying hens, The Animal Sanctuary in Matakana have hundreds of rescued ex-battery hens in need of homes. Crow Waiheke can help organise this for you. Not only are they great layers, they are friendly and lovable pets – and you get the satisfaction of giving them a second chance at life! Contact us to find out more. Click here to read heartwarming stories from people who have adopted rescued battery hens.


Please DO NOT view dumping your roosters at the park as a viable option. While we do our best to minimise the birds’ suffering, dumping is not a humane solution. Not only cruel, it is also illegal and can incur fines of up to $2000.

Please don’t make the mistake of thinking of roosters as wild birds. They have been domesticated over thousands of years and are no longer equipped to fend for themselves. You would not dump your dog or cat at the sports park (we hope). Dumping a rooster is no different.

Please note: it is illegal to keep poultry except in a rural area.

Important Contacts

Emergency Contact

(Formerly SPCA)

Waiheke Vets

How Can I Help?

What We Eat

There are certain things we love to eat and other things that we either will not touch or are bad for us.  Our volunteers give us a bag of wheat each day but we love your left over fruit/vegies and bread too.  Please don’t feed us fish heads or skeletons, we don’t like them and they don’t take long to start smelling out the joint.  Avocado is bad for us, as is citrus – and onions aren’t too good either!  If you see us without water please feel free to top up our water troughs, there is a tap at the sports park.


We cant eat your money but our volunteers will use it to keep us fed and looked after.  We even have a dedicated bank account:

Account Name: Onetangi Roosters
ASB Bank No. 12-3629-0694189-00

You could even purchase one of our tshirts as the profit goes straight back to us.

Buy a t-shirt, feed the Roosters!

Get a Friends of the Onetangi Roosters t-shirt for $40 and ALL PROFITS go into the Feed Account.

Local/International artist Katie Trinkle-Legge has generously donated the artwork in support of the roosters. For more of Katie’s roosters stop by SPACE studio in Oneroa.

100% cotton
Navy Blue V-Neck
Medium Blue Round Neck
Sizes: Small to 3XL

To purchase one of our t-shirts please text Kim on 022 600 4553
Free delivery from Oneroa to Onetangi!