A new marina development on Waiheke Island is threatening the wellbeing of Kororā

Posted on
15 July 2021
Kororā, the world’s smallest penguin, calls Aotearoa home. However, their existence is at risk because of us. From dog and predator attacks to coastal development, climate change, and road strikes, the population of little penguins continues to decline.  These native birds are one of our national taonga. It is up to us to ensure they continue to thrive in their natural habitat.
Kororā are wee creatures of habit. Once they’ve found their preferred nesting site, they return again and again. Unfortunately, the marine habitats they call home are also popular destinations for people. With coastal development, they have been known to nest under houses and in boat sheds. These birds need our help to ensure they can nest, breed, and moult safely.

On Waiheke Island, a new marina development in Kennedy Point, is threatening the wellbeing of Kororā. Despite following current RMA and Wildlife Act rules, the developers have not done enough to prevent harm to this taonga species. There is a high chance kororā could be disturbed, injured, or killed during this process. WWF-New Zealand supports a return to the drawing board, to ensure the recommendations from Professor John Cockrem of Massey University’s School of Veterinary Science’s preliminary assessment of the Kennedy Point Marina penguin protection plan are implemented.  These include:
  • No construction activity of any nature conducted above the low tide line along the full length of the breakwater and adjacent rock walls and to a distance of 5 m into the sea until the breeding and moulting period of Kororā is considered likely to have finished. This recommendation is made to ensure that Kororā nesting attempts will not be disrupted and that moulting kororā will not be affected by construction.
  • The line of buoys that is currently in the water should be secured at least 5 m away from the low tide line along the full length of the breakwater wall. This is so Kororā have unimpeded access to the sea.
  • Mauri o te Moana should have access to the breakwater so daily and nighttime Kororā observations can be continued. This is valuable information to help inform the design and implementation of a future Kororā management plan.

WWF supports a halt in construction whilst these issues are addressed to enable the Kororā to have the best possible chance of a successful breeding and moulting.  We are awaiting further final recommendations from Prof John Cockrem and would like to see a plan to remedy, mitigate and offset adverse effects on kororā at Kennedy Point in the long term.  The plan should incorporate valuable local knowledge and include measures that will provide significant, long term benefits for kororā outside the construction area (e.g.  habitat protection, restoration, along with pest control, and continuing education).

Whether or not the construction of the marina goes ahead, we should be doing everything we can to ensure these penguins have a healthy, safe habitat in which to thrive. When we live in harmony with nature, we can ensure the wellbeing of nature and ourselves.


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