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Biodiversity in New Zealand

Although New Zealand was one of the most recent places on earth to be settled by humans, we have radically modified the landscape in a very short period of time, resulting in rapid biodiversity loss.

These changes to the landscape were necessary to allow us to settle, house and feed ourselves.  Our natural resources have been and continue to be vital to the national economy.  We are fortunate to have a large conservation estate - approximately one third our land area - but this is mostly in the mountains and uplands where habitats and species are generally well-protected.


Since human arrival around 800 years ago, habitats in Aotearoa New Zealand have been extensively modifed and reduced.  Species have become extinct, and some species not seen for decades may also be extinct.

  • 40 indigenous land and marine species have become extinct
  • Over 60% of native freshwater fish, and the only freshwater crayfish (koura) and mussel species (kākahi) are threatened with extinction
  • More than 3800 New Zealand terrestrial, freshwater and marine species are threatened - almost four times as many as in the 1900s
  • Seven of NZ's ten official 'indicator species' for measuring biodiversity status are threatened: lesser short-tailed bat, kiwi (5 species), kākā, kōkako, mōhua (yellowhead), wrybill and woodrose.
  • 1000 native animal, plant and fungi species are under threat
  • Almost two-thirds of NZ's seabirds are threatened with extinction.

Turning the tide

Thinking big is now mainstream.  The number of ambitious, philanthropic and community-led initiatives throughout New Zealand has grown rapidly in recent times. People have stepped up to act to prevent further losses of birds, plants, trees, fish, insects and habitats.

Exciting projects such as Predator Free 2050, Restore TaranakiTaranaki Mounga, Reconnecting Northland and the Million Dollar Mouse leverage large initial private investment through partnerships with central and local government, and capture the imagination of the communities in which they are based. These projects inspire further action and support one another.

The involvement of national science organisation Landcare Research in Cape to City, an innovative large-scale predator control project across farmland and native bush reserves in Hawke's Bay, aims to assess the practicality and value of new techniques to help landowners manage pest control and build biodiversity on private land.   

The priorities in the Hawke's Bay Biodiversity Strategy & Action Plan are deliberately aligned with national initiatives, such as Predator Free 2050, the New Zealand Biodiversity Action Plan 2021 - 2025 and the draft New Zealand’s Threatened Species Strategy.

Keep up to date

Contact us

027 231 9367

PO Box 246, Napier 4140

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