Monarch Maddie

Meet the monarch, known as 'kahuku' in Te Reo, a butterfly that's a bit of a globetrotter! Legend has it they hitched a ride all the way from North America and made New Zealand their cosy home.

Monarchs are famous for their epic migration in North America, where they jet from near the Great Lakes in Canada to sun-soaked Mexico, covering over 4,000 km! But here in NZ, they've decided to take it easy and spend winter in style. Instead of packing their bags, they snuggle up locally in big groups, usually in trees with shiny leaves like Pohutukawa, Eucalyptus, cypress, and firs. On sunny days, they venture out to sip on nectar like they're on vacation.

Here's a fun fact: When monarchs are still in their larval form, they're basically eating machines, chowing down on milkweed and devouring up to 500 times their body weight! In NZ, the go-to milkweed is the swan plant.

And when it comes to brawn, monarchs are the big shots of the butterfly world in New Zealand, boasting a wingspan of around 100 mm – they're the heavyweights of flutter!

Now, let's roll out the red carpet for some Kahuku VIP facts:

  • During their North American migration, monarchs can go the distance – up to a whopping 5,000 km!
  • One adventurous monarch butterfly even flew from the Great Lakes all the way down to Mexico – that's one impressive traveller!
  • When winter knocks, monarch butterflies can live a high life for up to nine months.
  • Monarch caterpillars? They're like bottomless pits, munching their way through 500 times their body weight.
  • Monarchs may be small, but they've got big wings – with a wingspan of up to 10 cm, they're the undisputed kings and queens of Kiwi butterflies!

So, here's to the monarchs, the butterflies that bring a touch of North America to our shores, making NZ just a bit more colourful and exciting!

Plants to attract Kahuku:

  • Swan plants
  • Koromiko
How to measure monarchsMonarch Metamorphosis and butterfly gardening
Silvereye Sadie thumbnail
Red Admiral thumbnail
Bumblebee Billie thumbnail
bellbird Bonnie thumbnail
Honeybee Honnie thumbnail
Tui Thane thumbnail
Monarch Maddie thumbnail
Hoverfly Hemi thumbnail