The marine centered wildlife of
New Zealand is rich and varied. The environmentally
conscious visitor will have several opportunities to
gratify his passion and interest, and flora and
fauna sightseeing single-handedly could easily be a
prime tourist attraction.
As a matter of fact, for
visitors from other countries, this is one of their
reasons for coming over in the first place.
When speaking of diversity, New Zealand is one of
the world’s great places, not to mention the huge
variety of seabirds.
comparable area would be full of sea mammals, if
over-hunting in the nineteenth and early twentieth century
had not brought a considerable population of species to the
edge of extinction.
Nevertheless many species are on the road to recovery, and
the waters of New Zealand are rich with an assortment of
species of whales, dolphins, and pinnipeds.
This can also be said of fish and
other sea animals. Extraordinary environments like
the Three Kings Island and Poor Knights, along with
the Fiordland fiords, have allowed for the density
of rare species, or the appearance of strange links
to species. Terrestrial wildlife is not as
spectacular and usually trickier to come close to.
But it is achievable to hear and see an assortment
of indigenous birds of the forest, both in special
facilities and in the wild, particularly seaward
islands. In places where there is a dense population
of these birds the experience of their singing solo
justifies the trip. The famous chorus at dawn can be
magical as well as astounding. Aquatic mammals,
particularly seals (NZ fur seals) and dolphins are
usually seen all over New Zealand. Following
relentless hunting till the early nineteenth
century, the fur seals of New Zealand are making a
Although their colonies are usually in the South
Island they have also begun to breed again in the
These days the New Zealand sperm whales are the most
frequently observed and seen whales in the country’s
waters, but several other species can also be
spotted. Occasionally, southern right whales come
back to the Cook Strait region where they were at
one point common, while Bryde's, minke, and humpback
whales are the Hauraki Gulf’s usual visitors.
The islands of the sub-antarctic have continued to
be a haven for numerous species of southern right
whales and pinnipeds.
Waders or wading birds are not only established in
several regions of New Zealand, in the not very deep
sheltered coastal waters of harbors and estuaries
but also inland, particularly alongside the braided
rivers of the South Island beds.
During spring, huge populations of waders migrate to
New Zealand from their icy breeding grounds. Others
relocate between the South and North Islands.
Areas such as Farewell Spit, Miranda on the Firth of Thames,
and Waituna are internationally significant, and many others
afford great opportunities to observe great congregations of
Before the coming of man less than a thousand years ago,
there were no terrestrial mammals in New Zealand, with the
exception of a couple of species of bats. Rather, the
country was occupied by a small yet amazingly varied fauna