Buy a nesting box, a plot or a postgraduate scholarship and help our little blue penguins

08 December 2017
The Kororā or little blue penguin (Eudyptula minor).
The Kororā or little blue penguin (Eudyptula minor).

The 2017 Christmas appeal for the University of Auckland is a very special one.

For the first time we are asking people to consider purchasing a gift that will help support the tiniest penguin in the world, the Kororā or little blue penguin (Eudyptula minor).

These persistent, curious creatures have so much character it’s impossible not to form a connection with them. It’s a joy to watch them swim in the sea, and then come ashore to waddle with slightly less grace – and listen to their grumbling calls.

Also known as fairy penguins, Kororā stand only 33 cm tall and weigh around 1kg. They are tough, tenacious birds, native to New Zealand and Australia and although relatively common, their populations are declining rapidly.

They face multiple threats. At sea they can become tangled in fishing nets while foraging and drown, or are hunted as prey by much larger animals. On land they (and their chicks) are threatened by coastal housing developments in breeding areas, by cars on coastal roads that run between the sea and their nests, or by introduced predators, especially weasels, stoats and rats.

Inhabiting both sea and land, penguins are a unique measure of how healthy and viable our unique environment is — nature’s own early warning system. By observing our feathered friends we can gain a better understanding of what is happening in the marine environment.

There are three ways that you can support our Kororā

  1. Buy a little blue penguin a home: artificial nesting boxes provide necessary shelter against predators, which will help increase breeding success.
  2. Help plot a penguin: radio tags for our local penguin population helps scientists track their activity and better understand their foraging and breeding behaviour.
  3. Gift a postgraduate scholarship: a postgraduate student will undertake vital research into the conservation of these special creatures.

Your support is helping the world’s littlest penguins, and in so doing making a gigantic contribution to the recovery and conservation of our unique New Zealand environment.

Watch a special promotional video

To make sure your penguin cards are in Santa’s sleigh in time for Christmas delivery, please ensure your donation is received by the 15th of December. You can make your gift online today:


A big thank you to all those scientists at the Institute of Marine Science involved in creating a little bit of magic at this special time of year.

Photo: Edin Whitehead Masters Marine Science student, Avian Research Masters Scholar. Read her blog here.