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Our biodiversity

Our biodiversity

Updated 20 October 2022 1:40pm


Many of New Zealand’s animals and plants are unique. Collectively, these native species are what we mean when we refer to indigenous biodiversity.

Native animals originally found in New Zealand include a variety of birds, reptiles, fish and insects. The only native land mammals are bats. There is also a section on how mammals affect our native species.

Red beech trunk

Our native plants have many characteristics that are distinctive to New Zealand. You can find out more about plants in the different ecosystem types in the region and what you could plant at your place.

There are a number of ways that human activities put pressure on native plants and animals. Habitat can be reduced, such as through the clearance of areas of native vegetation, or quality can be affected, as via the pollution of waterways. The Wellington region also has a large number of pest animals and weeds, many of which were introduced by people. These prey on or displace native species and change the character of ecosystems.

Because of these pressures, many of our plants and animals are becoming rarer.  With other factors, such as the effects of climate change, likely to add even more pressure, our native species could use our support. To find out how you can help our native species, see our restoration resource page.

Many of the special ecosystems that our native species inhabit are also threatened.  GWRC’s Key Native Ecosystems programme is an example of how we help to protect and restore some of the most precious examples of the region’s ecosystems and the plants and animals they support.

Getting out and about

The Wellington region offers access to many unique areas of native biodiversity. Check out the map at Where the wild things are to explore sites that contain a range of ecosystems, animals, plants and micro-organisms. This portal is a great way to learn about the region's biodiversity and plan your trips to some popular sites and hidden gems.

There are also several very accessible regional parks and forests in the Wellington region, all with their own special character. These are unique, natural areas for recreation, conservation, or just getting away from it all.

Other great places to visit are:

Many of these places can be reached by public transport.


Kāpiti Island