New monitoring reports published

Date posted: 19-Jul-2018

Reports on monitoring studies carried out over the past year have now been poste..

2018 Concert coming up soon

Date posted: 15-Feb-2018

Our 2018 concert will feature an afternoon of light classics and jazz courtesy of the Auckland Ph..

Wetapunga talk coming soon

Date posted: 05-Feb-2018

For the Social on 19 March the speaker will be Ben Goodwin of Auckland Zoo, who will talk about t..

Rat caught and now takahe released from pens

Date posted: 28-Jan-2018

Thankfully DOC staff Andre de Graaf and Polly Hall and their assistants have trapped the rat whic..

Your Christmas Shopping for a Song

Date posted: 04-Dec-2017

Aka - The Grand Christmas Shopping Expedition to Tiritiri Matangi Island Shop Dreading..

2018 Photo Comp opens for entries

Date posted: 27-Nov-2017

The 2018 Photo Competition is now open for entries. Click here (/2018-photo-competition-tiritiri-mat..

New reports on ruru nesting and Island conservation

Date posted: 02-Oct-2017

Two new reports have been added to the website. The first gives details of a summer students..

2018 calendars now available

Date posted: 27-Sep-2017

Our latest calendar, beautifully illustrated with images taken on the Island, is now available fo..

Guided walks for photographers

Date posted: 21-Jun-2017

For a wonderful day of wildlife photography please join us on Tiritiri Matangi Island for a Ph..

Ferry discounts for Supporters

Date posted: 18-May-2017

Tiritiri Matangi Island, the perfect winter's day trip. The birds are at their best, warm up w..


Scientific Name:  Delphinus delphis (common dolphin), Tursiops truncatus (bottlenose dolphin)

Dolphins in Hobbs BayWhales, dolphins and porpoises are collectively known as cetaceans.  Up to 20 species of whales and dolphins can be seen in the Hauraki Gulf Marine Park, some of them all year round. Those that most commonly visit Tiritiri Matangi are the common and bottlenose dolphins. 

The common dolphin is 2-2.5 metres in length. It has a dark grey back and white belly and a distinctive pattern on its side, like an elongated figure of eight or hourglass. Aerial surveys conducted in September 2001 put the number of common dolphins in the Hauraki Gulf at up to 1000 at any time. They are thought to live up to around 22 years. 

The bottlenose dolphin is typically larger, between two and four metres long. They are also grey above and white below, but with no distinctive pattern on their side. They can live up to 45 (male) or 50 (female) years.

Dolphins are well-known for associating with boats, riding the bow-waves, leaping and diving. The Tiritiri Matangi ferry is no exception, and many visitors have enjoyed the spectacle of dolphins racing alongside them as they travel between the Island and the mainland. Dolphins are also seen frequently around the Island. The photo above was taken in Hobbs' Bay during the Queen's Birthday weekend of June 2001. The dolphins came into the bay, where about 50 boats were moored offshore, and started to dive under the boats and mingle with the swimmers in the water. They are often seen around the wharf, including one memorable afternoon in December 2012, when onlookers were treated to the sight of bottlenose dolphins leaping and somersaulting in unison.

Other cetaceans common in the Hauraki Gulf include Bryde's (pronounced 'brooders') whales (Balaenoptera brydei) and orcas (Orcinas orca). Orcas, easily recognisable by their distinctive black and white colouring, are also sometimes seen close to Tiritiri Matangi. Their appearance often coincides with large numbers of eagle rays in Hobbs' Bay, seeking refuge from the hunting orcas.

Photography by Dave Roe ©