IntroductionAbout 66 types of sharks are found in New Zealand waters ranging in size from the tiny pygmy shark which grows up to 27 cm long to the 12-metre long whale shark.
Sharks! The very name sends tremors down some spines – unjustly so as these fascinating creatures and their close relatives skates and rays are for the most part quite harmless. New Zealand has its own distinctive shark and ray fauna, with species occupying habitats ranging from the shores, to the open ocean, to the depths of the continental slope.
Although historically abundant in some waters around New Zealand, the basking shark, the second largest fish in the world, is showing signs of decline.
Smalltooth sandtiger shark
Smalltooth sandtiger sharks are found in the deep waters of the outer continental shelf and upper continental slope off the North Island and oceanic ridges north of New Zealand.
Oceanic whitetip shark
The oceanic whitetip shark is a large highly migratory species that is most abundant in tropical regions of the world's oceans.
Giant manta ray
The giant manta ray is the only manta ray recorded from New Zealand. It is common off the northeast coast of North Island from spring to early autumn.
Spine-tailed devil ray
Found in tropical and warm temperate seas, the spine-tailed devil ray is a regular visitor to waters off the northern North Island.
The world’s largest fish, the filter-feeding and highly migratory whale shark, occasionally visits northern New Zealand’s waters.