2020 Photo competition now open

Date posted: 15-Jan-2020

This year's photo competition is now open for entries. Please click here (/m..

AGM 2019

Date posted: 09-Sep-2019

Our Annual General Meeting was held at 7:30 pm on Monday 23rd September at the F..

More plaudits for Tiritiri Matangi

Date posted: 15-Jul-2019

Recognition of the wonderful experience visitors have when visiting the Island h..

Results of the 2019 Photo Competition

Date posted: 15-Jul-2019

The results of this year's competition have now been decided. Click here (/2019-photo-co..

Lighthouse Open Day

Date posted: 30-Apr-2019

Our historic lighthouse, signal station and diaphonic foghorn will all be on dis..

We need a new Treasurer

Date posted: 08-Apr-2019

The Supporters need a new treasurer to take over in September when Kevin Vaughan..

2019 Concert

Date posted: 05-Feb-2019

OrigiNZ, the tartan taonga are returning for the 2019 concert. Click..

Tiri's three unique foghorns

Date posted: 01-Feb-2019

Our next social event will take place on Monday 18th March when Carl Hayson and ..

Young Conservation Superstars win awards!

Date posted: 27-Jan-2019

Gabriel Barbosa and teacher Kate Asher, a team leader who co..

Entries for the 2019 photo competition

Date posted: 19-Jan-2019

We are now taking entries for the 2019 photographic competition. You can enter u..


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 ©