Hector's dolphin and calf
One of the smallest marine dolphins in the world, Hector’s dolphins grow no more than 1.5 m in length.
Only found in New Zealand’s waters, this distinctive grey dolphin with black and white markings and a round dorsal fin is the most easily recognised species of dolphin in New Zealand.
Hector’s and Maui’s dolphins are known to Māori by other names, including tutumairekurai, aihe, papakanua, upokohue, tukuperu, tūpoupou and hopuhopu.
Two sub-species of Hector’s dolphins exist. Learn what they look like, where they can be found and some fascinating facts about them.
Hector’s dolphins are classified as ‘nationally vulnerable’. They are at risk from set nets, boats, marine pollution and disease.
Hector's dolphins are being helped through marine mammal sanctuaries, set-net controls, protection regulations, improved management practices and scientific studies.
You can help Hector's dolphins through practices such as keeping your distance when swimming or in a boat and keeping their environment clean.
Hector's dolphin is New Zealand's smallest dolphin. These native dolphins are endangered in New Zealand. Find out how to behave when sharing the water with Hector's.
To increase protection of Hector’s and Maui’s dolphins, four new marine mammal sanctuaries and changes to an existing sanctuary have been proposed.
Get a summary of information from the Hector's dolphin incident database which records reports about Hector’s and Maui’s dolphins.
Marine and coastal conservation
Marine mammal sanctuaries
To report whale or dolphin sightings or strandings phone the DOC HOTline 24 hour emergency number:
0800 DOC HOTline (0800 362 468)