A summer fraught with extreme weather events has wreaked havoc on the breeding grounds of New Zealand's little blue penguin species.

As concerns rise over the possibility of Tropical Cyclone Hola bearing down on New Zealand, Forest & Bird has released footage showing the impact the year's storms on the species' habitat.

An entire breeding season of little blue penguin chicks was wiped out from the foreshore on Otata Island in the Hauraki Gulf just after New Year by the extreme conditions.

The chicks were either buried or drowned by the huge swells, king tides and massive waves caused by a New Year storm.

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Local Sue Neureter said in her lifetime living in and visiting the area, the burrows had never come close to being threatened before.

"It's not just the penguins, all of the variable oyster catcher chicks were swept away, " she said.

Neureter said shingle that had been washed across the spit was also creating concerns for local wildlife.

Shingle is covering intertidal blue and green mussel beds, and there is almost always a sediment plume billowing out from erosion of the beach."


Forest & Bird climate advocate Adelia Hallett said the dire scenes were evidence of the toll our changing climate was having on New Zealand.

"We see dotterels on the west coast and at Ohiwa Harbour trying to move inland as the rising sea claims more of their traditional nesting grounds, and kokako chicks killed by storms like ex-cyclone Gita," Hallett said.

"In Dunedin, just 16 of 29 fertile royal albatross eggs have hatched, probably because of the effects of hot weather."

Hallett also warned the toll climate change was taking on our native species would eventually hurt our ability to stay healthy, too.

"Our native forests are brilliant at taking carbon dioxide out of the atmosphere and storing it," she said.

"Forests, sand dunes, mangroves, and shellfish beds all help absorb the impacts of storms and droughts on the coast."

The negative effects on penguin habitats wasn't the first evidence of the impact storms have had on our wildlife this summer.

Hundreds of dead birds washed up in Mt Maunganui midway through January following weeks of extreme weather.

The Western Bay Wildlife Trust received "mass" reports of shearwaters, petrels, prions, shags and penguins washed ashore and 38 pufferfish had been collected on Mount Main Beach.