West Coast Wildlife

View kiwi in their nocturnal house. Come and find New Zealand's living dinosaur, the tuatara, find New Zealand's native fish in our aquariums.

West Coast NZ

Discover West Coast Wildlife
The National Kiwi Centre is also home to a freshwater aquarium with an array of New Zealand's native fish.  As many of the native fish species are small, well camouflaged, secretive or nocturnal most people don't see them in the waterways.

We currently have on display: koura (freshwater crayfish), freshwater shrimps, cocabullies, bullies, longfin and shortfin eels, and of course those amazing galaxiids - otherwise known as whitebait.

You can learn about one of the world's biggest insects - the weta

Catch a Crawly!

Children (and adults too of course) love catching freshwater crawlies (koura) in our indoor fishing lake. This activity is strictly catch and release. No animals are harmed in the process and no hooks are used. We will issue you a crawly catching certificate on request. Come and give it a go!

West Coast Whitebaiting

Every year the West Coast river banks become lined with people and their various nets in search of that little fish known as "whitebait".

Here at the centre the whitebait don't become fritters, instead you can see them at various life stages.

Their home is a 60,000 litre aqaurium where the fish shoal and swim and have been doing so now for the past three whitebait seasons - or spring time

As they are growing we are beginning to identify the various species of the Galaxiid family.

In breeding season last year, we tried out a technique used by researches at Canterbury University and placed a large head of a broom in the tank for the Inanga species to breed in.  Our females did their job, unfortunately our males didn't perform and our test was unsuccessful - we don't give up around here, we'll try again next year.


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