Kororā or Little penguins are the world’s smallest penguin, standing at only 35-43 cm and weigh in at just over 1kg. The penguins hunt at sea, diving for prey generally in waters less than 50 m deep. Their diet is composed of varying proportions of small shoaling fish, squid and crustacean species. Little penguins have been recorded foraging as far as 214km away from the colony during incubation on Motuara Island, Marlborough, reaching speeds of 6kph. Alas as sea temperatures have risen so have the sightings of starving or emaciated penguins this is due to kororā having to go further and deeper for the small fish they require for themselves and chicks.
Little penguins are widely distributed along the coastlines of the North, South, Stewart and Chatham Islands and their offshore islands. They visit (but are not known to breed at) the Three Kings Islands, and are vagrant to the Snares Islands. Little penguins are also common in south-western and south-eastern Australia, where they are also known as fairy penguin. Little penguins are mainly found within 25 km of the shore during the breeding season but can travel further out to sea when not breeding. Major breeding areas in New Zealand include Hauraki Gulf islands, Wellington Harbour, Cook Strait islands and Marlborough Sounds, West Coast, Fiordland, Motunau Island, Banks Peninsula, Oamaru, Otago Peninsula, islands in Foveaux Strait and around Stewart Island, and the Chatham Islands.
Kororā Interpretation Panels around NIWA colonies
October 2023 saw the installation of 7 interpretation panels installed around the Southern end Kororā Colony and soon to be another 7 panels around the new Northern end Kororā Colony at NIWA | Climate, Freshwater & Marine Science, Evans Bay Parade in Wellington City. The panels were designed to not only provide information about our kororā but also provide a reminder to always keep dogs on leash while walking in these locations and to remove all recreational fishing gear after you have finished fishing in these locations or anywhere around the Wellington Coastline where kororā inhabit.