Māui dolphins - adult and juvenile
Image: Māui dolphin | DOC


Māui dolphins are one of the rarest and smallest dolphins in the world. They are only found on the west coast of the North Island in New Zealand.

Population estimate: Between 48 and 64 dolphins older than 1 year.
Conservation status: Nationally critical.
Found: West coast of the North Island from Maunganui Bluff to Whanganui.
Threats: Fishing, toxoplasmosis and other diseases, oil and gas exploration, boat strike, mining, tourism, noise.
Size: Adult dolphins are about 1.5 m in length.
Distinctive features:

  • Māui dolphins have a distinctive rounded dorsal fin that looks like one of Mickey Mouse’s ears.
  • Their bodies are grey with black and white markings.
  • They look the same as Hector’s dolphin.


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