Dolphins

Know your Dolphin

Happiness is Dolphin Shaped!

  • Thirteen different species of dolphin are found around the New Zealand coast
  • The Mäori word for bottlenose dolphin is Terehu
  • The dolphins we encounter most are the Bottlenose Dolphins
  • Bottlenose dolphins (Tursiops truncatus) have a relatively short beak and a high, hooked and prominent dorsal fin
  • Colour is dark or light grey on the back grading to white on the undersides. Colour and shape can be variable however.
  • Newborn: length 85 cm-1.3 m
  • Adult: length 1.9-3.9 m
  • Around 450 individual Dolphins live in the Bay of Islands area, ranging from Doubtless Bay in Northland to Tauranga
  • Individuals living close to the shore feed primarily on a variety of inshore bottom-dwelling fish and invertebrate species
  • Females usually reach sexual maturity at 5-13 years with males not maturing until 9-14 years of age
  • Females breed every 3-5 years and calves suckle for around 2-3 years. Calving peaks are known to occur for most populations between spring and summer/autumn.
  • Female bottlenose dolphins can live up to more than 50 years of age, and males can reach as old as 40-45 years
  • Population sizes are largely unknown but this species is relatively common worldwide
  • Average Pod size is 12-18 animals

All dolphin swimming commercial operators in New Zealand are subject to a permit system administered by the Department of Conservation (DOC).

DOC regulations state that we are not allowed to swim with dolphins if they are feeding resting, or have baby dolphins.