New Zealand sea lions on Enderby Island
Image: Laura Boren | DOC


This five-year Threat Management Plan will guide the recovery of the nationally critical New Zealand sea lion/rāpoka.

New Zealand sea lion Threat Management Plan cover.
Cover of Threat Management Plan

The New Zealand sea lion/rāpoka Threat Management Plan 2017-2022 was published July 2017. 

It guides the recovery work of this taonga species at all four breeding locations:

  • Auckland Islands
  • Campbell Island
  • Stewart Island/Rakiura
  • South Island.

The Threat Management Plan aims to halt the decline of the New Zealand sea lion population within five years and ensure the population is stable or increasing within 20 years. The ultimate goal is to achieve Not Threatened status.

Recovering the sea lion population will include:

  • integrating mātauranga Māori into sea lion recovery work
  • a community liaison officer working with local whānau, hapū, communities, stakeholders and regulatory bodies to facilitate sea lions returning to the South Island
  • developing solutions to reduce pup mortality on Campbell Island, the second largest breeding colony
  • completing field work to determine risk factors for the bacterial disease Klebsiella pneumoniae, a significant threat to sea lion recovery
  • establishing the New Zealand sea lion/rāpoka Forum and Advisory Group
  • reviewing the Operational Plan to manage the incidental capture of sea lions in the southern squid trawl fishery. To input into the new Operational Plan see the discussion document and consultation on MPI's website.

The Plan is the first five year cycle of a strategic 20 year programme to recover the species. 

Objectives of the Plan: what success looks like

The New Zealand sea lion/rāpoka Threat Management Plan has a vision, five year and 20 year objective.

These are supported by site-specific measures of success which recognise the differences between the four breeding locations of New Zealand sea lions and the pressures they face.

The ultimate goal of the Threat Management Plan is to see the New Zealand sea lion status change from Nationally Critical to Not Threatened.

Measures of success diagram (PDF, 531K)

How the Plan will operate: the four workstreams

The Threat Management Plan consists of four workstreams: engagement, direct mitigation, targeted research and evaluation.

Each year, a workplan that ties into these streams will be developed based on the previous year’s work and with input from the newly established New Zealand sea lion/rāpoka Forum and Advisory Group.

View a diagram showing the prioritised workstreams for the first year of the plan, 2017/18: 

Prioritised workstreams diagram (PDF, 61K)

To follow the implementation of the Threat Management Plan over the first five year cycle, visit the meetings and project updates page. This includes summaries and reports from stakeholder meetings including the New Zealand sea lion/rāpoka Forum and Advisory Group.

How the plan was developed

Get an overview of how DOC and MPI developed the plan.

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