A tiny native frog has lead to the official classification of Otawa Sanctuary near Te Puke as a conservation sanctuary.

The discovery of the rare Hochstetter frogs living in the 400 hectare area of land 24 years ago has led to the area's protection to enable long-term survival.

The Hochstetter frog are voiceless, do not have external ears and hatch froglets instead of tadpoles.

There are 19 distinct Hochsetter frog populations and the Otawa population was believed to be the smallest with about 200 of the frogs.


In a press release, Forest and Bird's Central North Island conservation manager Al Fleming said Te Puke and Tauranga members had "fought tenaciously" for the frog.

The Otawa area was quarried from the 1960s until 2009.

"The frogs now have a chance and the new sanctuary land status give DOC and the community an opportunity to restore the frogs' habitat, protect them from predators, and ensure that the frogs' recovery and protection is a priority," Mr Fleming said.

The land status was formally stewardship, but has been changed to sanctuary area.