skip to main content skip to main menu

Plan your visit

Today's Hours: 9.00am-5.00pm
Last entry at 4.30pm

Prices & Tickets

find us...

Marine Parade, Napier
Ph: 06 834 1404
Opening Hours
Daily from 9:00am - 5:00pm,
last entry 4:30pm

New Zealand Land Animals

The National Aquarium is fortunate to have exhibits of three iconic New Zealand land based animals.

Scroll through the species below or click on the link to go directly to a specific animal.


KiwiNames: Kiwi.
Habitats: New Zealand's native bush.
Size: 25-45cm high / 1.3-3.5kg.
Feed: Bugs and insects.
Special Features: When Kiwi couples meet and mate they usually stay together for their entire lives.

Kiwi are flightless birds found only in New Zealand. They have poor eyesight but exceptional hearing and smell. Kiwi have the shortest beaks of all the birds, with external nostrils at the end of their long beaks. They are New Zealand's national icon used internationally as the demonym for New Zealanders.

Kiwi are super-fast runners, and can cover vast distances while navigating difficult terrain. With razor sharp claws, their strength is in their feet. During the day, they dig into burrows to sleep. At night, they forage for bugs and insects. Kiwi can be very territorial, bad tempered and once mature, can kick rogue stoats into the middle of next week!

Five Types of Kiwi

  • Brown Kiwi – North Island
  • Great Spotted Kiwi / Roroa – northern South Island
  • Little Spotted Kiwi – several offshore islands and at Karori Sanctuary in Wellington
  • Rowi – Okarito on the West Coast of the South Island
  • Tokoeka – Fiordland, the Haast Range, Stewart Island and Kapiti Island

National Aquarium Kiwi

The National Aquarium has reversed day and night in the Kiwi enclosure so you can see them in nocturnal mode. Their habitat is as natural as possible with native plantings and leaf mulch collected regularly from the native bush. Their diet is supplemented with ox heart, rolled oats and special Kiwi vitamins.

Super-sized Kiwi Eggs

Kiwi have the largest egg-to-body weight-ratio in the world, with a mature egg averaging 20% of the female’s weight, weighing in at around 450g (six times the size of a chicken egg). The egg is carried for two to three weeks before being laid, and during the last few days the female will wade in creeks to relieve the weight of the egg. She'll lay one or two eggs in late winter or spring, before leaving them for the male to incubate for three months. He takes full care of them, leaving the nest only briefly to feed. 

Chicks do not have an egg tooth like some other birds, so they must kick themselves out of their shell to hatch. Kiwi chicks also do not have down feathers like some other birds, but are covered with soft adult plumage. At 10-12 days old the juvenile Kiwi will leave the burrow alone to hunt for food. At around five months they can adequately defend themselves. They reach adulthood in about a year and can start breeding at about two years of age.

Endangered Kiwi

Because Kiwi are flightless, they're easy prey for feral cats, pigs, rats, dogs, stoats and possums. These introduced predators, along with the clearing of native vegetation, have resulted in the decline of Kiwi, which are now an endangered species. About 95% of Kiwi hatched in the wild are killed before they reach maturity. It is only through protection schemes, recovery programmes and raising public awareness that New Zealand's iconic bird can be saved.

Little Penguin

Names: Little Penguin (Eudyptula minor) / Kororā


Habitats: New Zealand coastline
Size: Up to 30cm tall, 1.5kg
Feed: Small fish.
Special Features: Little Penguins live to approx seven years in the wild, up to 25 years in captivity.

The Little Penguin is the smallest of all penguins, growing to not often more than 30cm tall. Also know as Little Blues or Fairy Penguins, these charismatic little birds are also found in southern Australia.

Like all penguins, the Little Penguin's wings have evolved over time into flippers used for swimming (not flying). The Little Penguin's head, flippers and upper body are generally blue, while their colouring transitions to a grey-white from their chin to under their belly. They can dive for food up to 60m, but usually only fish around 20m deep.

Like many seabirds, Little Penguins have a long lifespan lasting up to seven years. In captivity, Little Penguins can live up to 25 years old. All the Little Penguins at the National Aquarium have been rescued following serious injury or have disabilities such as blindness or amputations. If they weren't at the aquarium, they simply wouldn't survive in the wild.

Little Penguin Characteristics

The National Aquarium's Little Penguins all have different personalities. Some waddle, some run, some seem to fly underwater! Their lungs are more like a sponge than a bag, and male and female couples mate for life. In late autumn or early winter, they come ashore to nest, which may be 1.5km inland, at 300m elevations.

Little Penguins will nest in rocky crevices, caves, burrows or thick coastal vegetation. In some case, they've even been known to build nests under buildings. Many Little Penguins will return to breed multiple times within 1km from where they themselves were hatched. Two eggs per clutch are standard, with one hatching 2-3 days before the second.

Male and female parents share both incubation and chick-rearing duties. After a month chicks will be the same size as their parents, who need to start venturing out to find food to match their chicks' enormous appetites. By two months old they are fully-developed and they will leave the family nest.


TuataraNames: Tuatara (Sphenodon punctatus).
Habitats: New Zealand's offshore islands and of course the National Aquarium.
Size: 20-30cm long.
Feed: Mice, locusts, ox heart and vitamins (in captivity).
Special Features: Tuatara have three eyes and can hold their breath for up to three hours!

Statue-like at first impression, it's true Tuatara love to relax ... a lot. But they're also incredibly active and aggressive predators, and are great climbers. They're only found on New Zealand's offshore islands, and at the National Aquarium.

Unique to New Zealand, the Tuatara is a captivating reptile that few people ever get to see up close. Having survived for more than 225 million years since the age of the dinosaurs, the Tuatara is the only living member of the Rhynchocephalia family and is now very endangered. The National Aquarium has five Tuatara residents.

Tuatara at the National Aquarium

Tuatara are mostly nocturnal, hiding in burrows during daylight. They take 10-12 years to reach maturity and can live for more than 50 years. The Napier Aquarium Tuatara were hatched from eggs taken from the Stephen’s Island lighthouse keeper’s garden in 1979 and are the longest living Tuatara hatched in captivity.

Soundproofed glass and special technology are used at the aquarium to control the humidity, temperature, UV lighting and other conditions that mimic summer and winter, rain and other weather conditions. The Tuatara are fed mice, locusts (bred behind the scenes at the National Aquarium), ox heart and special Tuatara vitamins.

The National Aquarium has a worldwide reputation for its programme of breeding Tuatara in captivity and is part of the national Tuatara Recovery Programme in New Zealand, which breeds, monitors and preserves this fascinating reptile.

Disclaimers and Copyright
While every endeavour has been taken by the National Aquarium of New Zealand - Napier City Council to ensure that the information on this website is accurate and up to date, National Aquarium of New Zealand - Napier City Council shall not be liable for any loss suffered through the use, directly or indirectly, of information on this website. Information contained has been assembled in good faith. Some of the information available in this site is from the New Zealand Public domain and supplied by relevant government agencies. National Aquarium of New Zealand - Napier City Council cannot accept any liability for its accuracy or content. Portions of the Napier City Council information and material on this site, including data, pages, documents, online graphics and images are protected by copyright, unless specifically notified to the contrary. Externally sourced information or material is copyright to the respective provider.

© National Aquarium of New Zealand - Napier City Council - / +64 6 834 1404

National Aquarium of New Zealand is one of Napier City Council's great facilities/services. There are many more...

Kennedy Park Resort Napier

We are Hawkes Bay's premier holiday accommodation park providing an array of facilities to keep the entire family entertained.
View website for Kennedy Park Resort Napier

The Faraday Centre

The Faraday Centre in Napier, is Hawke's Bay's Museum of Technology. It's a place of discovery where history comes alive through hands on experience.
View website for The Faraday Centre

Par2 MiniGolf

Come to Par2 MiniGolf and meet Seamore the Seagull at our sea-side minigolf courses. Challenge your friends and family for a round.
View website for Par2 MiniGolf

Bay Skate

Located on Marine Parade, Napier, is the Bay Skate Park - home to skateboarding, BMX, roller derby, inline hockey and scootering.
View website for Bay Skate

Napier City Council

For Napier City residents and citizens to have easy access to see what council are currently working on, completed, what they do, facilities, and council information.
View website for Napier City Council

National Aquarium of New Zealand

Nowhere else in New Zealand will you discover a wider range of marine animals and native species in a single facility than at the National Aquarium of New Zealand.
View website for National Aquarium of New Zealand

Napier Libraries

Strive to Inspire, Educate and Entertain by providing access to information through various resources within our Libraries. We aim to provide more than you expect.
View website for Napier Libraries

Parklands Residential Estate

Located in the Art Deco city of Napier. We have worked closely with our builders to promote and develop high quality housing within an open-aspect environment.
View website for Parklands Residential Estate

MTG Hawke's Bay

Comprising a Museum, Theatre and Gallery - MTG is home to a significant collection of objects that form the foundation of distinctive exhibitions, a world-class research facility and the MTG Theatre.
View website for MTG Hawke's Bay

Napier Conference Centre

We offer an all purpose built venue that uniquely combines spectacular outlooks with functional layout.
View website for Napier Conference Centre

Napier i-SITE Visitor Centre

Visit the Napier i-SITE to find out more about what is happening in Hawkes Bay, from events, activities and accommodation.
View website for Napier i-SITE Visitor Centre

Napier Municipal Theatre

Unique Art Deco heritage has been preserved with the skilful addition of modern theatre facilities making it the best provincial performing arts centre in the nation.
View website for Napier Municipal Theatre

Napier Aquatic Centre

Situated in the centre of Napier, in the middle of Onekawa Park, the Napier Aquatic Centre is a safe and affordable aquatic facility for everyone.
View website for Napier Aquatic Centre

Enquiry or Feedback

If you have any questions, problems or feedback for National Aquarium of New Zealand please let us know about it.

Fill out my online form.

Follow National Aquarium of New Zealand on facebook...

Our latest posts...

» View our facebook page