Archived content: This media release was accurate on the date of publication. 


The Department of Conservation is keen to hear from fishermen and boaties about sightings of a Hector's dolphin in Gisborne East Coast waters.

Date:  01 November 2010

The Department of Conservation (DOC) is keen to hear from fishermen and boaties about any sightings of a Hector’s dolphin in Gisborne East Coast waters.

On Sunday 24 October a Hector’s dolphin was seen by a recreational fisherman three and a half miles off the Tatapouri boat ramp says Programme Manager, Biodiversity Assets James Holborow.

“We are confident that the fisherman saw a Hector’s dolphin which is one of the world’s smallest and rarest dolphins. The last sightings in East Coast waters were at Tolaga Bay in 2002 and Whareongaonga in 1998.”

“Hector’s dolphins are found only in the inshore waters of New Zealand. Two sub-species of Hector’s dolphins exist: the South Island Hector’s dolphin and the Māui dolphin found off the west coast of the North Island” says Mr Holborow.

Hector’s and Māui are the only dolphins in New Zealand that have a well rounded black dorsal fin. Their bodies are a distinctive grey, with white and black markings and a short snout. Adult South Island Hector’s dolphins don’t often exceed 1.5 metres in length and weigh between 40 and 60 kg. While Maui dolphins grow to 1.7 metres and weigh up to 50kg. Males are slightly smaller and lighter than females for both species.

“We are keen to receive any photos and location details of sightings of the Hector’s dolphin. This will assist in identifying the dolphin and with ongoing research about Hector’s and Maui dolphins” says Mr Holborow.


Hector's dolphins

Māui dolphins

Any sightings contact:

James Holborow
Ph: +64 6 8690460 or
DOC Hotline 0800 362 468

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