The Blue Penguin (Korora) and Fiordland Crested Penguin (Tawaki)

The blue penguin is the world’s smallest penguin at just 35-43cm tall, and weighs a little over 1kg.  It is found in many places around New Zealand and Australia and is a protected native species. 

The second penguin on the West Coast is the Fiordland crested penguin or tawaki, which is listed as Nationally Endangered and is likely to be the second rarest penguin in the world and probably the most enigmatic and least understood. Read more about our tawaki project here.

The blue penguin population is declining throughout New Zealand. On the West Coast it is estimated blue penguins only number in the high hundreds to low thousands.  Blue penguins need our protection from coastal development, predators, dogs and traffic and we’re working on these issues with your help.

Annual Cycle

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The West Coast Penguin Trust

The West Coast Penguin Trust is a charitable trust.  Its aim is to conserve the blue penguins, Fiordland crested penguins, other threatened seabirds and their habitat on the West Coast.  The Trust raises funds, conducts research and implements practical projects relating to penguins in particular, as well as to other birds subject to similar threats.

Here’s a new 45second video made for the Trust as a finalist in the West Coast Leading Light Awards 2015.


Latest news

Study into the effects of artificial lights on seabirds
July 12th, 2017

Westland petrel, nzbirdsonline, Patrick Shortley cWhile light pollution is a growing concern around the world, a wide ranging three year study funded by the European Union, including a “global review of seabird mortality in relation to land-based artificial lights” has identified ways to minimise the negative effect of artificial lights on penguins and shearwaters. Read more



Why are penguins black (or blue) and white?
June 29th, 2017

Penguins of Madagascar snip penguin camouflageThe long standing theory of penguin camouflage is debunked by scientist Dr Thomas Mattern in an excellent blog and video article.

Read more



Annual Report celebrates progress for penguins
May 23rd, 2017

Gari as a juvenile penguin cThe West Coast Penguin Trust bases its conservation work on sound science.  That science continues to underpin improved understanding of the threats facing penguins and seabirds in the region for improved conservation management, and the Annual Report, published today, updates readers on all of our projects.

Read more



Penguin enthusiast shares Antarctic experience
May 12th, 2017

Emperor penguin sliding - Helen Armstrong March 2017Helen Armstrong recently travelled to Antarctica with Heritage Expeditions. They offer people under 30 scholarships each year so that younger people can experience a place that very few people visit. She shared this report and some photos about her trip earlier this year.

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Gari the penguin prepares to fly to Sydney
May 3rd, 2017

Gari, tawaki or Fiordland crested penguin at Wellington Zoo's The NestA nationally endangered tawaki or Fiordland crested penguin named Gari, is heading to Sydney to live at Taronga Zoo, after receiving care and treatment at Wellington Zoo’s Veterinary Hospital, The Nest Te Kōhanga for over two years.

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Variability in the foraging range of blue penguins
April 2nd, 2017

2016 map from Proupart et al study April 2017 NZJoZThe little or blue penguin Eudyptula minor is primarily an inshore forager generally feeding within 30 km of breeding sites during the nesting period.  The Trust’s GPS foraging study is part of a wider research project and results have just been published.

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Summer newsletter with penguins and seabird news
February 14th, 2017

penguin love cartoon picFor Valentine’s Day, here’s our latest newsletter sharing our love for penguins!

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Tawaki breeding success close to zero
February 9th, 2017

tawaki Jackson Head 2014 season at rocky burrow KJWBeech mast leads to stoats leads to breeding failure …. in the third year of the Trust’s monitoring of potential predators and predation of Fiordland crested penguins, stoats at Jackson Head have proved to be a significant threat, taking virtually all eggs or chicks during the 2016 breeding season.

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OK year for blue penguins on the coast
February 7th, 2017

IMG_1888 copyThe Trust’s monitoring of blue penguin nests this year in the Charleston area shows that breeding success has been a bit worse than average.

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Good year for Cape Foulwind sooty shearwaters
January 23rd, 2017

Reuben Lane checking sooty shearwater burrows with burrowscope, Cape Foulwind, Jan 2017Reuben Lane and Kerry-Jayne Wilson inspected sooty shearwater burrows at Cape Foulwind last Friday and breeding success looks better than ever.

Read more





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Family Spheniscidae
Maori Name Korora
Scientific Name Eudyptula minor
Common Names Little Penguin, Blue Penguin, Little Blue Penguin, Fairy Penguin
Colour Slate blue plumage; white chin, throat and shirt front; blue-grey flippers
Standing height 35-43cm
Flipper length 11-13cm
Weight Avg. 1100-1200g
Breeding range New Zealand, Chatham Islands, Southern Australia

Brief introduction to the work of the Trust

Green Ribbon Award Winners logoLeading LIght Business Awards Category Winner 2012

Leading Light 2015_Badges_winner

image from leading light video 2015

Brief video updating the work of the Trust for the Leading Light Awards, 2015

Support the work of the Trust here!

Kiwi Karma, NZ accommodation website, donates 3% of your room rate to charity, at no extra cost to you.  Just select West Coast Penguin Trust when you confirm your booking. Over 3100 places to stay, NO BOOKING or CREDIT CARD fees.

Kiwi Karma, NZ accommodation website based on the TradeMe BookIt system, donates 5-8% of your room rate to charity, at no extra cost to you. Just select West Coast Penguin Trust when you confirm your booking.  Over 3100 places to stay, so you’re bound to find something to suit from backpackers to 5 star luxury!


VIMEO CHANNEL – for penguin videos