Aquatic Life

Giant Kōkopu / Whitebait

Galaxias argenteus
Conservation Status: At risk, declining

Giant Kōkopu/Whitebait                  Galaxias argenteus

People are often unaware that the kōkopu is actually fully-grown whitebait, an endemic fish whose scientific name, ‘galaxias’, refers to its spotted skin. Very little is known about its spawning or hatching behaviour, while its feeding methods are also murky: scientists believe that it lurks under overhanging vegetation in wait of prey such as cicadas, koura and spiders. 



Hauhau / Brown Mudfish

Neochanna apoda
Conservation Status: Vulnerable

These unassuming freshwater fish are known for their miraculous ability to live in harsh environments such as swamps, drains and even on land in times of drought. They are slender with small eyes, and can be found from Taranaki to the South Island.  

Kōura / Freshwater Crayfish

Paranephrops planifrons
Conservation Status: At risk, declining

This North Island crustacean was once a vital part of Māori trade and a staple food item. They can be found in pastoral waterways and native forest but suffer from the effects of chemical pollution, increased floodwater flows and introduced predators such as trout.

Kōura can be regularly seen in the Pūkaha river.

Tuna / Longfin Eel

Anguilla dieffenbachii
Conservation Status: At risk, declining

These fish have a spectacular life story and are endemic to New Zealand. Eels hatch in the sea around Tonga before floating as ‘elvers’ to New Zealand on ocean currents. Once in New Zealand, they migrate inland using freshwater waterways where they spend the majority of their lives living and feeding.

Everyone has the chance to see these eels for themselves at Pūkaha, while at 1:30pm every day we offer an eel feed and talk to all general admission ticket holders.