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  • New Zealand’s native freshwater fish are unique – 51 of the 54 species are only found here in New Zealand. However, when asked to name a freshwater fish species, most people will first name an exotic species like trout. This is partly because our native fish are seldom seen. Most of them are small, camouflaged and live in remote areas – and many are nocturnal.

    Resources in te reo Māori and English

    The following resources make our unique native fish much more visible and available for study! In addition to information about the fish and their habitats, the articles and interactives offer suggestions on what we can do to help conserve this taonga. The resources were produced in collaboration with the NZ Landcare Trust with support from NIWA. They include practical information on stream restoration in both urban and rural settings.

    The resources are published separately in te reo Māori and English and you can easily move between the two versions.

    Te reo Māori


    General information about native fish

    Ngā ika taketake wai māori o Aotearoa

    Freshwater fish of New Zealand

    Ngā ika taketake wai māori

    Native freshwater fish

    Ngā karangatanga matua mō te wai māori me ngā ika wai māori

    Freshwater and freshwater fish – key terms

    Native fish in urban environments

    Te ika taketake i te tāone

    Native fish in the city

    Te whakaora o ngā kōawa kei ngā tāone mō ngā ika taketake

    Urban stream restoration for native fish

    Native fish in rural environments

    He painga mō te pāmu, he painga mō te ika

    Healthy farms, healthy fish

    Action conservation

    Ngā mahinga kōawa hei painga mō ngā ika

    Stream works for fish

    Te whakamāherehere i ngā panonitanga

    Planning for change

    Te whakatō otaota ki ngā tapa kōawa

    Planting stream edges

    Āwhinahia ngā ika nei!

    Give our native fish a hand!

    Freshwater fish of New Zealand quiz

    Use this online or paper-based quiz as an introductory tool to gauge students’ prior knowledge, as a summative assessment or as an engaging treasure hunt to introduce students to some of the different adaptations, habitats and threats of New Zealand native freshwater fish. Questions 3 and 4 in the quiz are designed to engage and stimulate classroom discussion around the conservation status of these fish.

    Related content

    The article Wetland animals looks at the role of eels in a wetland ecosystem.

    The New Zealand longfin eel (Anguilla dieffenbachii) is New Zealand’s only endemic freshwater eel.

    Other articles about tuna (eels)

    Aotearoa has abundant freshwater resources. The Hub has an abundance of freshwater resources too. We’ve got them organised in this handy interactive, complete with a PLD article to get you started!

    Explore the range of resources in our Freshwater – lakes and rivers Pinterest Board.

    Activity idea

    This activity supports students to use resource materials to identify the features of a variety of New Zealand freshwater species.

    Hiding in plain sight – native freshwater fish explores camouflage and some of the adaptations our native fish use to hide from predators.

    Useful links

    See the articles in the New Zealand Journal of Marine and Freshwater Research 2018 Special Issue: Mātauranga Māori shaping marine and freshwater futures.

    Maramataka expert Rereata Makiha discusses world views, tohu and resilience in this presentation to Te Wai Māori Freshwater Fisheries Conference 2019.


    This resource has been adapted from the Hooked on native fish downloads developed by the NZ Landcare Trust. The Science Learning Hub acknowledges the help of the NZ Landcare Trust in adapting this work.

      Published 4 September 2018 Referencing Hub articles
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