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

Other articles about tuna (eels)
Tuna – working with glass eels
Longfin eel – on a path to extinction?

Activity idea

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


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