Several species of dolphin live in New Zealand waters including common dolphins, Dusky dolphins, Hector’s and Maui’s dolphins and Bottlenose dolphins. These intelligent and playful mammals live in groups called pods. They can live for 50 years or more feeding on fish, squid and other live prey. There are 10 species found in New Zealand all of which are protected by law.
New Zealand is home to the small Hector’s dolphin, restricted to parts of the South Island coast and the Maui’s dolphin a northern subspecies categorized as endangered, it is one of the rarest marine dolphin subspecies in the world.
Both weigh around 50kgs and are 1.2 – 1.5 metres long, making them among the shortest of the world’s dolphins; Maui’s dolphins are significantly longer than the Hector’s. Females have one calf at around every 2 to 4 years or more; their lifespan is about 20 years, the smaller the species of dolphin, the shorter the lifespan with larger dolphins, such as the bottlenose, living between 25 and 50 years.
Bottlenose dolphins are found in coastal areas around the world. In fact, excluding orca (which are really dolphins), Bottlenose dolphins have the widest distribution of all dolphins. They are most frequently seen in the northern part of the North Island, upper South Island and Fiordland.
Pod sizes can be from 2 to 60 or more; fish and marine invertebrates are their main foods.
Tawharanui Marine Park is an area where we see the bottlenose dolphin; the marine park covers much of the northern coastline of Tawharanui Regional Park and extends half a nautical mile seaward; this marine park is an area where all life is protected. It is an area where Bottlenose dolphins and Orca can occasionally be seen cruising by.
Habitat Tours guests have seen the Bottlenose twice in the last 2 weeks at Tawharanui, a true nature experience with not only the fauna on land but at sea too.
See Habitat Day Tours and Day/Night Tours to experience the real New Zealand with their informative guides and small groups.
Tristan Cullen - Passionate Conservationist