Posts tagged with dolphins

What (or which) was New Zealand’s first protected dolphin?

  • Pelorus Jack (a Risso’s dolphin, Grampus griseus) accompanies a vessel in Admiralty Bay, 1901–09. Image: James McDonald (Te Papa C.025085).
  • Children playing with Opo (a bottlenose dolphin, Tursiops truncatus), Opononi, 1956. Image: Eric Lee-Johnson (Te Papa O.007809/04).
  • Hector’s dolphin (Cephalorhynchus hectori) – New Zealand’s first protected dolphin – but only in the waters of Cook Strait between 26 October 1956 and 1 March 1959, and 17 March 1966 to 4 July 1968. Image: Steve Dawson, New Zealand Whale and Dolphin Trust
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New Zealanders have had the privilege of enjoying the company of many dolphins that chose to interact with people or boats. Some became household names, including Pelorus Jack (1888-1912), Opo (1955-56), Horace (1978-79), Aihe (1987-93), Maui (1992-97) and Moko (2007-10). The close bond that people developed with these dolphins led to concern about their welfare… Read more »

Whales Fab Fact 8


Whales Fab Fact 8: big fin The fin on a dolphin’s back stabilises it as it moves through the water. Killer whales are classified as dolphins – they have the biggest dorsal fin of all whales.   Killer whale cartoon by Anton van Helden Ko tā te urutira o te aihe mahi he whakataurite i… Read more »

Whales Fab Fact 5

Whales Fab Fact 5: whales are clever! Large animals often have large brains. Dolphins have disproportionately large brains compared to their body size – just like humans. Whales and dolphins are highly intelligent. They belong to a handful of mammals that can recognise themselves in a mirror. This group includes humans, some apes, and some… Read more »

Meet Hemi the Hector’s dolphin!

No, he’s not the Easter Bunny, but here at Te Papa we’re just happy that Hemi the Hector’s dolphin made it in time for Easter. Hemi is the star of our new interactive game in Whales Tohorä, Dolphin Danger! Visit over Easter and help Hemi navigate his way through several life-threatening situations to the safety of… Read more »

Dolphin dangers

Marine mammals and the fishing industry don’t always mix well. Yesterday the Department of Conservation released horrifying photos of dolphins caught by fishing trawlers in December off the west coast of the North Island. Yes, most commercial fishing companies are following the rules and will stop fishing as soon as they see there are dolphins around but something needs to… Read more »