Real Life

From rescue bird to avid traveller: this cockatiel’s journey around New Zealand is amazing

“He’s a pet with purpose”
Loading the player...

Robyn Chappell, 60, from Cambridge, NZ shares her story:

Looking at the injured baby cockatiel in front of me, my heart broke.

His body was twisted, and his leg had been dislocated and was facing the wrong way.

“He’s not going to make it,” my partner Andy, now 68, said.

When not running my accommodation business, I also managed the Bird Rescue and Re-homing Centre, where I looked after baby birds in need.

Andy with Ollie (Image supplied)

A breeder had brought this poor cockatiel in but seeing no hope of him surviving, I wrapped him up in a little bed so he would be comfy when he passed.

But to my shock, not only did he survive, he thrived over the next few weeks.

I named him Ollie and he soon had a special place in mine and Andy’s lives.

His leg was crippled and he couldn’t fly so loved to sit on our shoulders.

Ollie found a special place in Robyn and Andy’s lives (Image: supplied)

He whistled tunes, and we got a special birdie backpack so he could travel in it with us when we went hiking or bushwalking.

I began an Instagram account for him, @ollies_kiwi_adventure and he made visits to rest homes, community groups and shopping centres.

“He’s a pet with purpose,” a nurse at a rest home said. “He cheers everyone here.”

Last year, Andy and I were wondering what our next adventure would be.

Robyn with Ollie (Image: supplied)

We realised we were both unfit, so we decided to walk the length of the country.

“Of course, Ollie will come with us,” Andy said.

So, in April this year, we started walking sections of Te Araroa, a trail that connects Cape Reinga at the top of NZ to Bluff at the southern most part of the country, covering around 3000km.

Ollie on a big journey (Image: supplied)

Our plan is to walk it over two years and we hope to raise $10,000 for Te Araroa Trust.

Having Ollie with us has made each step easier.

He really has brightened up our lives and it’s a joy to travel with him.

To help, visit:

Loading the player...

Related stories