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Māui and Hector’s dolphins are often in the news. Most often though, it’s because they are caught in nets, found dead on beaches, or New Zealand is being noted for letting them slide into extinction.

The 2019 Threat Management Plan and current updates:​

Threat Management Plan

October 2021 

  • A study commissioned by DOC and Fisheries New Zealand reported that there were likely to be 54 Maui dolphins over 1 year old within the survey area, with 95% confidence that the number of dolphins was between 48 and 64.

June 2021

  • Hector’s and Māui dolphin Research Strategy 2021 was created to support the vision and goals of the Hector's and Māui Dolphin Threat Management Plan (TMP).

November 2020

  • Changes to five marine mammal sanctuaries and the Kaikoura Whale Sanctuary came into effect on 5 November.

October 2020

  • The new measures to restrict commercial and recreational set-net and commercial trawl fishing announced in June 2020 took effect.

Reference and more information (Timeline of protection for Māui and Hector’s dolphins)

More information on the Threat Management Plan

Recent News



Government announcements


Further reading and references

  • DoC – Visit this page for the Māui and Hector’s dolphin sightings database – mortality record, abundance estimate and info on past and proposed Threat Management Plans.

  • New Zealand Whale and Dolphin Trust – We work with a range of scientists, including world experts Professor Liz Slooten and Steve Dawson from the University of Otago and the New Zealand Whale and Dolphin Trust.

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