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
Native fish in urban environments
Native fish in rural environments
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.
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)
Hiding in plain sight – native freshwater fish explores camouflage and some of the adaptations our native fish use to hide from predators.
Activity ideaThis activity supports students to use resource materials to identify the features of a variety of New Zealand freshwater species.
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.