Animals (New Zealand)

Where can I find information about animals in New Zealand?

Entry last updated: 06/03/19


New Zealand Aotearoa has many different kinds of animals. They include native animals that are indigenous to New Zealand, introduced animals that have been brought to New Zealand by humans (including pests) and domestic animals (including pets and farm animals) that live with people in their home or farm.

Native animals

Aotearoa New Zealand has many unique native animals. Native animals are animals that are indigenous to, or originate from a specific country. This section has websites that have heaps of interesting information about native animals.

Department of Conservation

The Department of Conservation (DOC for short) is the government website about preserving the natural and historical sites of New Zealand. You can see it’s a government site by looking at the About us or Contact links at the top of the page.

Tips: A website’s address (URL) can give you a hint about how reliable it is. Look for addresses in the results that include .gov or .edu in the URL. These are quality sites from overseas government or educational organisations.

Smithsonian Animal Index

Smithsonian Animal Index has facts about more than 1,500 animals across 300 different species. There is heaps of information about each animal, and great photos too.

  • Type the search words 'New Zealand' into the search box at the top of the page. This will bring up a range of results.
  • North Island brown kiwi is a great article about the North Island Brown Kiwi.
  • Kiwi Fun Facts has a number of facts about kiwis and, in the Related News list on the right hand side of the page you will find some interesting links, including an amazing video of a kiwi hatching.
Tips: Search words, or keywords, are the most important words in our question. Usually it’s better to leave out small words like ‘the’, ‘a’ and ‘of’ and just choose the main ones, e.g [New Zealand]. We can always change our keywords or add more if we need to.
Tips: Many web pages have links to further information or to other recommended sites. Following these links is a great way to find out more. This searching method is called “pearl growing” because you are picking up pieces of sand to make a beautiful pearl!

Animal Diversity Web

Animal Diversity Web is a great place to look for information about individual animal species. These include text, pictures of living animals, photographs and movies of specimens, and/or recordings of sounds.

  • Type 'New Zealand' into the search box at the top right hand side of the page.
  • This will bring up a list of New Zealand animal species, including this entry on the Cephalorhynchus hectori (Hector's dolphin).
  • Entries include heaps of facts about animal habitat, lifespan, behavior and food habits, as well as pictures and photographs.
Students write the text for these of these accounts so if you are using this site, it always pays to check the information against that on other sites or in books from the library.

Forest and Bird

Forest and Bird is an independent New Zealand conservation organisation. This is a great place to find information about New Zealand native animals and birds.

  • Type 'endangered animals' into the search box at the top of the page.
  • Check out the result in the list, called Native plants and animals.
  • This article has useful information about some of the threatened species in New Zealand.
Tips: Websites that have .org or .net in the address can have good information, but you need to assess how reliable it is. Check the About us link on the website, if you can find one. That can tell you what the organisation’s mission and values are.

New Zealand Geographic Archive

This is one of the EPIC resources - a set of reliable databases covering lots of different topics. You may need a password from your school or local library to access it.

The New Zealand Geographic Archive has some helpful articles about New Zealand native animals.

  • Type 'native animals' into the search box at the top of the page.
  • This will bring up a range of results including this article called Going native, which is about the importance of New Zealand's native animals and plants.
Tips: To get to the EPIC resources you will need a password from your school librarian first. Or you can chat with one of our AnyQuestions librarians between 1 and 6pm Monday to Friday and they will help you online. Some EPIC databases may also be available through your public library.

Introduced animals (pests)

There are lots of introduced animals in New Zealand Aotearoa. These animals have been brought to New Zealand by humans. They are often too invasive for the environment and become pests. This section has some interesting information about introduced animals in New Zealand.

Department of Conservation

Introduced animals are an ongoing problem in new Zealand. The Department of Conservation has some interesting information about pests.

We like sites that are from government or other reputable organisations, because we can trust the information. You can sometimes tell these sites by their web address – they might have .gov or .edu in their address – or by looking at their About us or Contact pages.

Domestic animals (including pets and farm animals)

There are many domestic animals in New Zealand Aotearoa. Domestic animals are animals which serve a purpose for its owner or others. This section has some great sinformation about pets and farm animals in New Zealand.

Te Ara Encyclopedia of New Zealand

Te Ara is an excellent starting point for all questions about New Zealand Aotearoa. If we scroll down to the bottom of the page we can see that the website belongs to the Ministry for Culture & Heritage, so the information is well-researched and reliable. There is lots of information about New Zealand animals here.

  • Type 'pets' into the search box at the top of the page.
  • This will bring up a range of results including this article on Pets.
  • You can find information about farm animals by selecting Sections then Settled landscape
  • In this section you can find out about beef farming, deer farming, exotic farm animals and more!


There have been many books written about the New Zealand animals - check out your local public or school library to see what they have.

Some recommended titles are:

Awesome animals of Aotearoa! by Jahri Jah Jah.

In the bush : explore & discover New Zealand's native forests by Gillian Candler.

Under the Ocean : Explore & Discover New Zealand Sea Life by Ned Barraud.

Whose feet are these? by Gillian Candler

SCIS no: 1887015

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