Maui's dolphin
Dead Hector - courtesy of Davis Apiti
Earthrace Maui's logo
Flyer: So little but not too late - print it out and pass it on

New Zealand's Department of Conservation (DOC) announced that the number of Maui's dolphins, only found in a few areas of sea around South Island, over the age of one has reached a historical low of between 48-69 individuals, with a mostly likely point estimate of 55. Only around 20 breeding female Maui’s dolphins survive. The number of Hector's, only found in the waters around North Island, is estimated at between 8-10,000.

Watch Pete and Scotty on a Maui's mission

The main cause of death to Maui's and Hector's Dolphins is entanglement in net used in gill net fishing and trawling.

New Zealand had an opportunity to do something about this when the IUCN held a vote in 2012 on whether to introduce additional protection for the Maui's. Whilst every other country's delegates voted 'yes', only New Zealand's voted 'no'. As Pete Bethune said at the time, 'I have never been more ashamed to be a kiwi'.

Latest news 12 June 2014.
Courtesy of ABC News Australia
New Zealand has dismissed a call from marine scientists to better protect the rare Maui's dolphin, saying existing safeguards are sufficient. The International Whaling Commission's (IWC) scientific committee, representing more than 200 marine experts, is warning the Maui's dolphin will become extinct unless fishing is banned in its habitat.

Researchers believe only about 50 of the dolphins are left in the shallow waters off the North Island's west coast. The scientists estimate that three to four Maui dolphins are accidentally killed as fishing by-catch every year.

New Zealand's conservation minister Nick Smith disputed the by-catch death toll and said a ban on set-netting covering an area of 6,200 square kilometres had been effective in minimising deaths.

While the IWC wants a total fishing ban in a larger area extending 20 nautical miles from the coast, Mr Smith says there is no evidence the dolphins are found outside the already protected area.

"Effectively, they are asking us to shut down the entire fishing industry all the way up the west coast of the North Island, way beyond areas where we have any evidence that the Maui's dolphin are," he told Radio New Zealand.

"I am not going to get in the business of banning fishing where there is no evidence Maui's dolphin exists."

This isn't just an issue for the people of New Zealand however. Wherever we live, we simply cannot allow any species to become extinct in our own lifetime when there is something we can do to stop it.

Support "Lets Face It" for Maui's and Hector's Dolphins
Please join Earthrace Conservation Organization in supporting the "Lets Face It" campaign started by Peggy Oki by joining her in creating a visual petition to help protect Maui's and Hector's dolphins.

If you have already created a Visual Petition (VP), you know how fun & easy it is to do. You can team up with a friend, and its fun for everyone. Events such as festivals, parties, gatherings with co-workers and friends are great places for connecting and collecting many more “Let’s Face It” VPs. So bring your camera and image of Hector’s / Maui’s Dolphins along with you.

Please visit the official "Let's Face It" web page to begin!

Maui’s dolphins – Swimming towards extinction?
Maui's dolphins (Cephalorhynchus hectori maui) joined the international critically endangered list on the 7th of October 2008. Critically Endangered is the highest risk category assigned by the IUCN Red List for wild species. Critically Endangered means that a species' numbers have decreased, or will decrease, by 80% within three generations.

Earthrace considers the immediate and complete protection of Maui's and Hector's dolphins and their habitat as an absolute priority, making it their first official campaign. Many groups, both national and international, are also involved and ECO NZ is working closely with them towards the common goal of giving this species a real chance to survive.

The Solution
ECO NZ is instigating immediate action to confront government and conservation ministers about full protection for Maui’s and Hector's dolphins’ habitat, including a total ban on fishing of any kind to a depth of 100 metres and up to 20 nautical miles from the coast, as well as calling for a halt to the projected placing of hydro turbines in or near the Kaipara harbour. The team continues to campaign to increase awareness at all levels, including involving local fisheries and other stakeholders.

In summary, Earthrace is demanding that DOC and MPI implement a new Hector’s and Maui’s Threat Management Plan to include:

• Exclusion areas for gill netters and trawlers must be immediately introduced in all areas where these species exist in waters up to 100m deep, and up to 20nm from coastline
• The number of fisheries inspectors and fisheries inspections within all marine mammal sanctuaries in New Zealand where both species of critically endangered dolphin exist must be increased
• Fisheries inspections must include those carried out at night.

You can help by supporting Earthrace New Zealand, keeping up to date via and by taking part in all the campaign actions that you can find.

Great website about all the issues here:

Maui’s video:

Earthrace is not alone. Alongside people like Dr Liz Slooten, the foremost authority on Hector's and Maui's dolphins and Associate Professor in the Zoology Department at Otago University, and her team, many other groups and organisations are working for greater protection of Maui's and Hector's include NZ Forest and Bird, Greenpeace NZ, Cetacean Society International, Sea Shepherd Conservation Society, NABU International Foundation for Nature, and Project Jonah.

Four petitions to sign if you haven’t already (some may have closed):

1. NABU International - Foundation for Nature




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