Nationally, the kererū population is considered to be stable but its numbers are gradually declining in areas where predation and illegal hunting are unchecked.
That decline has been offset due to recovery on predator-free offshore islands, or from large-scale recovery at sites with widespread pest control, particularly near large urban centres.
Although the kererū was traditionally hunted for its meat and feathers, hunting of the bird is now illegal.
The most serious threat to the kererū comes from predators. Recent studies in several parts of the country have found that many nests produce no chicks at all. Rats, stoats, cats and possums eat their eggs and young; stoats and cats will also attack and kill adult kererū.
Possums also compete with adult kererū for food (leaves, flowers, fruit) and devastate trees by consuming new shoots. Forest clearance and poaching are also threats to its survival. Research by the Department of Conservation, Landcare Research, universities and other groups has found that the species is unlikely to cope with hunting pressure.
In Northland, the kūkupa is in danger of becoming locally extinct through the combined effects of predation, competition and continued hunting.