On the outside they may appear as slippery characters but in reality their numbers are dwindling in our waterways and rivers.
A new sculpture, the final in a series for Havelock North, was set in place this week featuring three iron rings with bronze sculptured eels on top, made by Christchurch artist, Bing Dawe.
"I choose eels for this work because it's a native fish and most people have had an experience with eels. Some have the view they are tough and strong but really they are endangered in our waterways.
"This work in an environmental piece to talk about waterways and I know there are a lot of wetlands here and good restorative work happening on waterways in this region," he said.
The three iron rings, 1.2m in diameter, represent drains or waterways where eels swim inland before heading back to sea as part of reproduction cycles.
On the first ring, there are four eels, on the second there are three and the third there are just two eels to show the decline in numbers of the fish.
"If we don't have wetlands, we won't have the eel," Mr Dawe said.
The sculpture was turning heads as the finishing touches were put in place yesterday just outside the National Bank near Porter Rd.
The artwork was part of a revitalisation project for the village and was sponsored by the estate of Alan and Frances Bell.
Havelock North resident and trustee Peter MacCallum have been instrumental in bringing the artwork to completion.