Aucklanders might not realise it, but their region is home to many of New Zealand's most endangered species - and they're not just birds. Ahead of Conservation Week, we list 10 of them - and recommend how people can help protect them.

New Zealand dotterel (Tuturiwhatu Pukunui)

The number one tip is to watch where you walk.

A combination of habitat loss, predation by introduced mammals, danger from household pets and disturbance during breeding has led to a serious decline in dotterel numbers, with approximately only 1700 left nationwide.

The breeding season has just started, lasting September to March, and although beaches are their natural nesting spots, loss of habitat has driven dotterel to nest in fields and grassy spots as well.


Keep your dogs on a lead, try to stay below the high tide mark on the beach and listen out for the dotterel's distinctive "chip-chip."

Long-tailed bat

Become a "bat spotter" and get in touch about any bat sightings, especially if you think you have any on your property.

You can also protect old or standing dead trees as they are natural bat homes.

The Auckland Council biodiversity team is identifying bat locations to protect their habit, using bat detectors to convert bat's high frequency sounds and monitor their presence.

The long-tailed bat population is declining due to predators and the removal of bat's roosting trees, with Auckland one of the only cities left in New Zealand where our bat still resides.

Hochstetter's frog

Create buffers of vegetation around streams, reduce sediment entering streams and avoid touching any frogs so as not to damage their sensitive skin.

The Hochstetter's frog is one of only four native species in New Zealand and classified as an at-risk species due to habitat destruction, introduced predators, disease spread, herbicides and pesticides.

Hochstetters are semi-aquatic, living around streams and nocturnal, sheltering under rocks or logs during the daytime.

Auckland Council is working with landowners to protect the Hochstetter's frog's essential habitat and raise awareness of the species.

Little penguin

The main things to do are leashing your dog in penguin areas, ensure your cat is inside at night and take care when fishing or boating near seabirds.

If you come across a penguin that looks like it's injured or nesting, contact the Department of Conservation's emergency hotline rather than disturbing them.

Most of Auckland's little penguin population live in offshore islands like Waiheke and are threatened by dogs, cats and rats, which often attack eggs and chicks.

Human activity in marine areas such as plastics, nets pollutants and competition from fisheries for food also puts the penguins at risk.

Giant kokopu

Target rats, hedgehogs and mice living next to stream habitats as they eat giant kokopu eggs and prevent the population from growing.

You can also search out giant kokopu and notify the Auckland Council biodiversity team of any sightings, which will help them preserve the existing population as the giant kokopu is one of Auckland Council's priority endangered species.

Giant kokopu are one of five whitebait species found in Auckland, with all but one species in decline.

The fish love large pools in wetlands and slow moving rivers and streams close to the coast.


To help protect the kauri tree, clean your footwear, tyres and equipment when visiting kauri areas, don't bring in soil and stay on walking tracks and off kauri roots.

If you are a landowner with kauri on your property, fence off individual kauri or groups and check them for symptoms of kauri dieback disease.

The kauri tree is currently under threat of kauri dieback disease and Auckland Council is conducting regular surveys of the state of our kauri and working to contain and alleviate the impacts of kauri dieback.

Auckland green gecko

When planting in your garden, think of the Auckland green gecko.

The reptile is threatened by poaching and Auckland Council biodiversity team is monitoring the species to protect remaining numbers.

Fill your garden with plants that will offer shelter- small shrubs in tightly spaced groups and larger trees with an underplanting so they can avoid open spaces.

The Auckland green gecko is found only in the North Island and bright green in colouring, sometimes with rows of yellow or cream blotches with a distinctive blue tongue and tail to help them balance and climb.


To protect the kokako bird, help eliminate pests like possums and rats.

The kokako is almost extinct in the Auckland region due to predation from pests, which target nesting kokako particularly nesting females, preventing repopulation and breeding.

Auckland Council biodiversity team has been working to grow the kokako population.
In the Hunua Ranges pest control efforts brought the population up from three chicks in 1993 to 130 in 2016-17.

Kokako are ancient wattle birds, dark-bluish grey in colour with a long tail and fairly short wings, preferring to run on strong legs instead of fly.

Copper skink

The copper skink lives only in the North Island and are coppery in colour, growing to about 10cm in length and notable for their split head scale.

Make your garden a safe refuge for the species, planting high-scented flowers to attract them - the copper skink is nocturnal and active mainly by night, so colour is not a factor.

They eat small insects, spiders and similar invertebrates and like most other New Zealand native skinks, the copper skink does not lay eggs but bears live young during the
February to March breeding season.

Spotted shags

The spotted shag bird species are threatened by set nets, human disturbance at breeding colonies, shooting and possible overfishing.

Use safer fishing practices, such as keeping boat decks clear of bait scraps, setting and reeling gear quickly and sinking burley containers deep in the water away from the birds.

The spotted shag is another priority species for Auckland Council's biodiversity group as the population numbers have reduced from thousands throughout the Hauraki Gulf to breeding in just three locations in the inner gulf at Tarahiki Island and two coastal sites at the eastern end of Waiheke.

People can also report a sighting of any of these species to  or the Department of Conservation's emergency hotline, 0800 DOC HOT.