Fisheries Infosite

Maui's dolphin (HDM)
Maori name
Scientific name
Cephalorhynchus hectori maui

Maui’s dolphins are the world’s smallest dolphin species, and are endemic to the north-west coast of the North Island of New Zealand. It is a subspecies of Hector’s dolphin. Females produce one calf every 2-4 years, making population increase very slow.

Maui’s dolphins are classified as ‘Nationally critical’ by the New Zealand Department of Conservation and as ‘Endangered’ by the International Union for Conservation of Nature. Population estimates indicate that there are around 110 individuals in the world.

Maui’s dolphins are known to become entangled in set nets and trawl nets and drown. Fishing methods are currently restricted in areas known to have large populations of Maui’s dolphins.

Maui’s dolphins feed on a variety of fish species.

Hector’s and Maui's dolphins are known to Maori by other names, including Tutumairekurai, Aihe, Papakanua, Upokohue, Tukuperu, Tupoupou and Hopuhopu. They are revered as a taonga by Maori, who advocate strongly for their protection.

International Union for Conservation of nature and Natural Resources (IUCN) Red list

New Zealand Threat Classification System list

DOC threat status: 1 Nationally critical
IUCN listing: Endangered
Average maturity age: 8
Maximum age: 19
Adult survival average: 90
Litter: 1
Reproduction frequency
(per year):
Demographic data source: Values from Hector's Dolphin Used
Population: 111
Population source: Dawson et al (Mfish study)

4 items
Category Environmental impacts
Effects on other species
Hector's and Maui dolphins entanglements in set nets. details
Effects on other species
Hector's and Maui dolphins accidental capture (inshore trawling). details
Effects on ecosystem
Predator - prey unbalances within an ecosystem details
Effects on other species
Potting (Red rock lobster) occasional whale and dolphin entanglements details