New Zealand has a range of native animals, including the kakapo, tuatara and kiwi (our national icon). Many of our native birds and reptiles have faced near extinction from hunting, habitat loss and the introduction of predators. Conservation efforts today have helped restore the numbers of many of these unique creatures.
The albatross is a large seabird that spends most of its life at sea - returning to land only to breed and raise their young. Many albatross species have been brought to near extinction.
The Kaka is a lively parrot, with two sub species - one that inhabits the North Island and the other inhabiting the South Island. The kaka make use of their brush tongue, strong bill and feet in obtaining fruit, nectar and seeds.
The kakapo is a plump, flightless, nocturnal parrot. Unique in many ways, nests on the ground and only breeds every 2 to 4 years.
The kiwi is a nocturnal, flightless bird that lives on the forest floor. The kiwi are the only bird to have nostrils at the end of their bill, and forage for food by digging in the earth and smelling it out. The kiwi is the New Zealand national icon.
The weka is a cheeky, flightless bird that lives in a range of environments including forests, sand dunes and semi-urban areas. The weka are known to steal food and shiny objects from unwitting campers and travellers, and will eat just about anything.
The tuatara is a lizard-like reptile that can be found living in the wild on offshore New Zealand islands. A relic from the dinousaur age, the tuatara are nocturnal, and live for a very long time. The South Museum in Invercargill features a large exhibit and breeding program.
Did you Know?
The two main islands of New Zealand are called the North Island and the South Island.