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Living with our Wildlife

Living with New Zealand's Wildlife

Here in Hawke's Bay, we're extremely fortunate to be living in one of the most stunning regions in New Zealand. We're also very privileged to be sharing it with the unique and amazing wildlife that also call this place home.   

To help keep our shared community safe for all, we need to make sure we're protecting our wildlife and the habitats they live in. Below are a few things that we as local individuals can do.

If you see any wildlife in trouble phone the Department of Conservation on 0800 DOC HOT to ensure the right people are able to help.

Living so close to the sea means we can come into contact with the charismatic feathered characters that are the adorable Kororā. We have a responsibility to make sure that when they leave the ocean and come on to land, they are protected.

When you are lucky enough to see a Little Penguin along our coastline, it can be a truly amazing experience to watch their cute antics. But it's also very important we keep our distance and do not disturb them.

If a nesting Little Penguin is disturbed the parents may abandon their chick, leaving them to fend for themselves, which can result in dire consequences.

One of the Kororā's main predators on land include the domestic dog. Of you're a dog owner and know that a Little Penguin is nesting close by, please keep your dog on a lead at all times.

If you must let your furry best friend off its leash, please do this on a beach / area that doesn't have a penguin nesting area close by. The best time of day to visit such areas is between 7pm and 10am, as penguins are most active on land between dawn and dusk.

Cats are one of the most dangerous predators of native wildlife in New Zealand. The impact domestic and feral cats have on our wildlife is unsustainable, particularly for our native birds and lizards. So, to help keep our precious native treasures around for generations to come, we need to take steps to reduce our cats' time out at night hunting. Below are some steps we can take:

  • Feed your cat regularly – as cats that are not hungry will not go hunting.
  • Keep your cat inside at dawn and dusk – as this is when native birds are most active.   
  • Get your cat de-sexed – as any unwanted kittens may end up becoming feral and will hunt our native birds and lizards.

As a member of the Zoo and Aquarium Association (ZAA), the National Aquarium of New Zealand supports the Safe Cat Safe Wildlife campaign.

Discarded cigarette butts are one of the world's biggest litter problems. They're not biodegradable and when discarded on the ground will eventually end up in the ocean. Recently in Queenstown, a resident collected over 10,000 cigarette butts in 30 days!

It has also been estimated within New Zealand there are around 10 billion cigarette butts littering our environment – this is a staggering number. Responsible disposal of cigarette butts into general waste bins or specially designated cigarette butt waste bins needs to be publicly encouraged.

Take 3 for the sea – this is a worldwide initiative to encourage everybody to collect 3 pieces of rubbish you find when you go out for a walk and to make sure that it ends up in waste bins, or even better the correct recycling bins.

The total percentage of plastic-based marine pollution is now up around 90%. Plastic rubbish in the ocean ends up being consumed by marine wildlife with devastating effects. It is estimated that 100,000 marine mammals and turtles and 1 million sea birds are killed by plastic pollution annually.

So please take 3 for the sea!

If you're lucky enough to see whales and dolphins at sea, please keep your distance. The same applies to resting seals and sea lions that are on our coastlines. A good rule is to keep back at least 20m as if you get too close they can get spooked and swim or stampede towards you! These marine animals can move as fast as we can and may end up hurting themselves or even us!

If you find a sick or injured marine animal when you're out, please call the Department of Conservation (DOC) Hotline 0800 362 468

It's great to get out on the ocean or along our coastlines for a spot of recreational fishing. Turning off devices, enjoying the scenery and being among nature is both a pleasure and a privilege. However, we do have to be responsible when we go recreational fishing by making sure damaged fishing tackle and lines are discarded properly into waste bins on the shoreline.

Discarded fishing tackle can be consumed by or tangled up in marine wildlife, causing harm and even death. This is what happened to two of our rescued Little Penguins that now live here at Penguin Cove in the Aquarium – Flip and Elmo, both these penguins sadly had to have one of their flippers removed due to getting tangled in discarded fishing line.

We can't wait to show you our world.

Opening Hours

Daily from 9:00am - 5:00pm
(including public holidays)
last entry 4:30pm


Marine Parade, Napier

+64 6 834 1404

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