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Wildlife – Dolphins

What is so special about the dolphins that live at Porpoise Bay?

The pods of Hector’s Dolphins/Papakanua that can often be seen playing in the surf at Porpoise Bay, are the smallest and rarest marine dolphin in the world! Distinctive by their black and white markings and rounded fin, they are found only off New Zealand shores with a total population of about 7,000. Porpoise Bay is unique as it is the only place where dolphins come so close to the shore without people feeding them; they swim just outside the breaker line and often come within ten metres of the beach!

They use the Bay not only to feed and rest, but as a nursery to raise their young. As these animals live and play so near the shore they are susceptible to being hurt, newborn dolphins are especially vulnerable as they swim slowly and can’t yet dive. It is an amazing experience to be in the water with these dolphins but please do not approach them, THEY will come to you if THEY want to!

To enjoy the dolphins in their environment,
please observe the following:

  • Do not try to touch them.
  • Do not feed dolphins, our food is harmful and may encourage them to take other harmful¬†objects.
  • Take rubbish home to avoid it ending up in their home.
  • If boating, slow down and avoid sudden noises such as changing course, take care with fuel as spills can burn their sensitive skin.
  • Respect their space, interaction is entirely at THEIR discretion.
  • Obey the set net ban in this area.