Places for Penguins

We’re giving the Little Penguin a fighting chance of reversing the population decline happening around New Zealand.

This programme focuses on locations around the Miramar Peninsula that are favourable to Little Penguins. These sites provide vegetative cover and can be protected by predator control.

Places for Penguins started in Tarakina Bay during Wellington’s Seaweek in 2007. It was built on other Forest & Bird and community penguin protection projects at Gisborne, New Plymouth, Oamaru and the West Coast.

The nesting program was test-launched in Oamaru and there are now 300 nest boxes in the Oamaru area and 250 nest boxes in the Wellington area. This keeps dogs out of nests and gives penguins ready-built homes.

Penguin protection is a real community effort; at Miramar Peninsula, local residents, Forest & Bird members, the Breaker Bay & Moa Point Progressive Assn, Seatoun School, Wellington High School, Strathmore School, Wellington Zoo, Wellington City Council & Greater Wellington Regional Council are all participating in the project.

Lifecycle and distribution 

Little Penguins are one of the few coastal birds that live close to urban areas making cars and dogs a real threat. Despite its fiesty nature, this pint-sized penguin has only has 6000 breeding pairs to its name. More 

Nest boxes 

Little Penguins are in danger of being hit by cars when they cross roads to access natural burrows on the opposite side and also when returning to the sea. To reduce these penguin road deaths artificial burrows in the form of specially designed boxes are placed on the seaward side of a road. These boxes provide some protection from dogs and cats and increase the number of potential nesting sites along the coast. Thanks to an Infinity Foundation grant,  we have installed a nest camera to gain a good picture of their breeding patterns! More 

Pest control

Dogs and pests, such as rats and mustelids, are all dangerous to penguins. Find out more about our pest control program and how you can help. 


Planting programmes 

Planting native plants in areas favourable to Little Penguins restores natural habitat and coastal biodiversity. Learn about our planting program, native plants, and how you can join in. More 

Public awareness and research projects 

Find out what Places for Penguins is doing to encourage dog-owners to control their pets around penguin nests and how we’re monitoring penguin colonies. More

Urban issues 

Cars present a serious threat to penguins as they cross a road to access nesting sites and roosting areas. Learn more about traffic control and public awareness campaigns. More 


Get Involved 

To volunteer for the Places for Penguins project contact our co-ordinator