A Dolphin’s Tale



To our great shame, one of the world’s most endangered species, the Maui’s Dolphin, now has less than 55 individuals left.  The species is 54 deaths away from extinction.

See: Forest & Bird – Hector’s & Maui’s dolphins

It’s close cousin, the Hector’s Dolphin, numbers around  7,000-8,000 – a drop from 30,000 in the 1970s.

Each year 23 Hector’s dolphins are drowned in fisher’s nets.

See: Hector’s dolphins on course for extinction

Set nets have all but destroyed these air-breathing mammals in our insatiable rush to strip the seas of edible fish.

On 28 June, Primary Industries Minister David Carter announced,

I have decided to extend the recreational and commercial set net ban in the Taranaki area, from Pariokariwa Point south  to Hawera, with an offshore boundary of 2 nautical miles (nm)…

In addition, due to the level of uncertainty in information relating to Maui’s dolphin presence in the area, I have decided to prohibit the use of commercial set nets between 2 nm and 7 nm in this area without an observer onboard.

Observers will:

  •  report start and end positions of nets set between 2 and 7 nm from shore; and
  •  report dolphins sightings to DOC.”

See:  David Carter – Maui Dolphin Decision Letter

See:  Set net restrictions to protect Maui’s dolphins

Which seemed remarkably less than what was required to save Maui’s dolphin and prevent Hector’s dolphin from sliding further toward extinction.

On 21 September, Radio NZ featured a report about New Zealand’s governmental delegation to the International Union for Conservation of Nature’s conference, held in Korea. Shockingly, our delegation   voted against  strengthening measures to protect  Maui’s and Hector’s dolphins,


Full story

Radio NZ:  Listen to more on Morning Report


It must be one of the few  occassions  in our history that New Zealand has voted against a conservation measure in an international forum, focusing  specifically on  an endangered species within our own territory.

There must have been several raised eyebrows at that Conference.

How much longer can call ourselves “100% Pure – Clean & Green”? (Maybe 70%?)

On 12 June, John Key fronted a “Live Chat”, hosted by Fairfax media, where he answered questions put to him by readers.

See Previous blogpost: Fairfax – an hour with Dear Leader

One of the questions put to him referred to endangered dolphins in our waters,

12:28  Moderator:
Anna asks:
What is the govt doing to prevent the extinction of the Maui dolphins? DETAILS! Not just “we’re working on it” NZ wants answers. We want a moratorium on set net fishing.

12:28  John Key:
We are very close to making an announcement in relation to that issue. Stay posted.

That tantalising hint of  “an announcement in relation to that issue” raised hopes that National was set to take firm,  decisive action to preserve both species from the abyss of permanent extinction.

No such luck.

By now we should be used to National stating lofty goals – and taking the lowest road possible to the easiest, cheapest outcome. An outcome we live to regret later.

In two years, Maui’s dolphin may be extinct.

That’s one hell of a “legacy” for John Key’s Prime Ministership to be remembered by.




Take Action

Forest & Bird: Hector’s Dolphins: Distribution

Previous Related Blogpost

An Open Letter to John Key



= fs =

  1. 24 September 2012 at 10:46 pm

    Good on you Frank!

  2. HR
    24 September 2012 at 10:48 pm

    This tragedy has been going on for a while now – it is not new…

    • 24 September 2012 at 10:53 pm

      What’s new is the government’s decision, announced a couple of days ago

      • John B
        24 September 2012 at 10:56 pm

        thats sick and who is this other country

    • 24 September 2012 at 10:56 pm


  3. 24 September 2012 at 10:48 pm

    I have posted on this subject Frank.

    • John B
      24 September 2012 at 10:39 pm

      and the goverment wants it to happen,action speaks louder than words

    • 24 September 2012 at 11:06 pm

      Feel free to leave a link here, Peter? Anything that adds to the overall picture of what’s going on – I encourage. 😉

  4. HR
    24 September 2012 at 10:55 pm

    Were the Nz govt and one other country the only two to not agree to save dolphins threatened with extinction recently??

  5. Theodore
    25 September 2012 at 12:24 pm

    Lesson in politics; don’t believe a word that comes out of that man’s mouth. John Key has shown himself to be a liar and the extinction of a species will be a sad epitaph for his government. Good on you New Zealanders for voting in such a self-serving cretin.

  6. 5 October 2012 at 9:45 am

    There is now a petition, which automatically sends a submission to the MPI and DOC as part of the current ongoing consultation on Maui’s dolphin protection. Please sign and share as we need everyone to speak up for the last few Maui’s dolphins. It may well be the last chance we get to save them. Thank you! Here’s the link: https://www.change.org/petitions/save-maui-s-dolphins-now

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