Mohua Blue Penguin Trust


Little penguin sites likely topping 300

Little penguin sites likely topping 300

6 September 2019 - Penguin detection dog Mena and her handler, Alastair Judkins, of the Kaikōura Ocean Research Institute, found 248 kororā sites in Golden Bay. Article by Cherie Sivignon published on


Little blue penguin detection dog Mena and her handler, Alastair Judkins, of the Kaikōura Ocean Research Institute, found 248 kororā sites in Golden Bay during a three-week survey.


Mohua Blue Penguin Trust member Cynthia McConville said the 248 total did not include the little penguin populations at Port Tarakohe or Rangihaeata, which had been counted previously.


"We have yet to crunch the numbers but Golden Bay could be home to the largest mainland colony of kororā in New Zealand," McConville said, adding she believed the totals at Port Tarakohe and Rangihaeata were about 50 and 28 respectively.


Judkins and Mena were brought to the Bay by the trust to survey the population of kororā from Wainui Bay to Pūponga Point. The survey was designed to provide baseline information on the population of kororā and it was hoped it could be repeated annually to provide accurate information about the birds – the world's smallest penguins, weighing in at around 1kg and standing about 30cm tall.


In the public forum section of the Tasman District Council environment and planning committee meeting on Thursday, McConville urged a review of the council's Dog Control Bylaw 2014 saying it was not fit for purpose.


"TDC needs a dog control bylaw that meets its obligations under the Dog Control Act to protect wildlife," she told councillors.


The survey was "a wonderful three weeks of discovery" but had a sad ending when Judkins and Mena found a sand burrow at Pakawau beach that had been dug out by a large dog.


"Penguin feathers were scattered on the sand below the burrow and there were large dog prints in the sand," McConville said. A review of the bylaw is not scheduled until 2024 but there have been some calls for that to be brought forward or amendments made.


​McConville said the trust objected to a recommendation from the Golden Bay Community Board for an amendment to the bylaw that would allow dogs on Tata beach all year, except one hour before and after sunrise and sunset.


"This recommendation was made without any knowledge of little blue penguins in this area and it gave no consideration to protecting them from dogs, their major predator," McConville said.Ju dkins had told the trust that Tata Beach was "a penguin hotspot", she said.


Celia Butler, of Golden Bay Forest & Bird, also spoke in public forum, outlining suggested dog restricted areas in the Bay. In another public forum presentation on the bylaw, Linda Jenkins said she had provided the council with suggested dog restricted areas along the coastline from Marahau to the Riuwaka River mouth. It followed a presentation in July by Jenkins' husband, Larry Lumsden, who called for an early review of the dog control bylaw. Later in the meeting, the councillors asked for a report on the options for reviewing or amending the bylaw.


An earlier Stuff article on this subject was published on the 25th August 2019:


page last edited 23 July 2023