Change to dog access on Waiheke protects endangered penguins

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Publish Date : 07 Apr 2016
Little Blue Penguin Waiheke - dog
Little Blue Penguin Waiheke

Waiheke Island is home the kororā, or little blue penguin, the world’s smallest penguin, which is in serious decline. The bird comes ashore to nest from May and is often prey to dogs who either hurt them directly or ruin their nesting sites.

In an effort to protect the penguin colony, the Waiheke Local Board reviewed dog access bylaws to ensure that restrictions were robust for the shoreline where penguins roam.

Winter heralds the seasonal change to dog access bylaws across the region. On Waiheke, this means that more beaches become available for dogs off-leash, and under owner’s control, without time restrictions. These will revert back to the summer rules after Labour Weekend in October; the council will remind you of these closer to the time.

Dogs are allowed on most of Waiheke beaches

Dogs are allowed on most Waiheke beaches. But where there are penguin habitats nearby, dogs must be kept on leash. There will be signs in place across the island, but they may not be visible from every entrance and exit. It is up to the individual dog owners to famialiarise themselves with the bylaws in place at any reserve or beach area on Waiheke.

“Please remember when you are visiting Waiheke and enjoying our beautiful outdoors, to be careful where your dog runs free. We request that you follow the bylaws; they are often in place to protect delicate flora or fauna,” say Paul Walden, Waiheke Local Board chair.

Note that the following reserves are permanent off leash areas:

  • Pio Rehutai (near Church Bay)
  • Owhanake, McKenzie
  • Te Toki (grassed area)
  • Onetangi Sports Park (except playing fields)
  • Pohutukawa
  • Kuakarau (on Te Whau Drive)

Download a copy of the full Dog Access Bylaws for Waiheke here

Quick facts on the Little Blue Penguin

Did you know that kororā* …

  • make up to 98 dives per hour when hunting fish
  • return to the same place every night
  • they weigh 1kg and stand at a height of 25cms
  • known as: kororā, Little Blue Penguin, Little Penguin
  • the deepest dive recorded in NZ by kororā is 35 meters
  • they lay only 1-2 eggs each spring.

*data from

Summary lists:

Dogs are allowed under control off a leash at all times in the following areas:

  • Anzac Bay: Natzke Road Foreshore
  • Causeway Beach (Wharf Road)
  • Omiha Bay (known as Rocky Bay)
  • Blackpool Beach: eastwards of Moa Avenue
  • Hooks Lane Beach (Surfdale)
  • Owhanake Beach: from the southern point of the beach below the access track off Delamore Drive to the point adjacent to the northern edge of Owhanake Reserve (the northern edge of the grass area)
  • Anzac Reserve except market days
  • Te Toki Reserve grassed area
  • Pio Rehutai Reserve
  • McKenzie Reserve
  • Onetangi Sports Park except playing fields
  • Pohutukawa Reserve
  • Kuakarau Reserve

Dogs are allowed under control off a leash in the following areas at all times until labour weekend:

  • Big Oneroa Beach
  • Enclosure Bay
  • Little Oneroa Beach
  • Onetangi Beach: from rocky outcrop at western end of beach to eastern end of the beach opposite the First Avenue boat ramp
  • Palm Beach (including Little Palm Beach)
  • Putaki Bay (Shelley Beach/Shelley Bay)
  • Sandy Bay
  • Surfdale Beach east of Blake Street (excluding Hooks Lane Beach)

Dogs are allowed under control on a leash in the following local parks to support the protection of wildlife:

  • Anzac Bay Reserve
  • Church Bay Esplanade Reserve
  • Hekerua Bay Reserve
  • Kennedy Point Reserve
  • Korora Road Reserve
  • Newton Reserve
  • Okoka Bay Dead Dog Walkway
  • Putiki Reserve - all reserve areas to the north of Shelly Beach Road from the access track adjacent to 31 Shelly Beach Road
  • Te Aroha Avenue/Te Aroha Reserve Access Way
  • Te Huhuri Bay Reserve between the beach and the boundary of the Marae
  • Te Whau Esplanade Reserve 1
  • The Esplanade Reserve Blackpool
  • Watters Glen
  • Waiheke Island Sports Club
  • Wharf Reserve
  • Wharf Road Wilma Road Walkway
  • Wilma Foreshore Reserve

Dogs are allowed under control on a leash on all beach and foreshore areas west of Piemelon Bay and Omiha Bay not specifically identified as a prohibited, time and season or off a leash area to support the protection of wildlife. This includes:

  • Blackpool Beach westwards of Moa Avenue
  • Church Bay
  • Hitapa Bay
  • Hekerua Bay
  • Island Bay
  • Kennedy Point Wharf Beach
  • Kauakarau Bay (known as Rocky Bay)
  • Matiatia Bay
  • Oakura Bay
  • Okoka Bay
  • Owhanake Beach: from the point adjacent to the northern edge of Owhanake Reserve to the northern headland
  • Picnic Bay (Beach area accessed from Esslin Road Reserve)
  • Piemelon Bay
  • Putiki Bay
  • Repo Bay
  • Surfdale Beach westwards of Blake Street
  • Skeleton Bay
  • Takirau Bay
  • Te Miro Bay
  • Te Whau Bay
  • W Bay/Fossil Bay
  • Waiheke Bay
  • Wharetana Bay

Dogs are prohibited from the following beach and local park areas to support the protection of wildlife:

  • Te Matuku Bay Esplanade Reserve
  • Beach and foreshore area between eastern end of Little Oneroa Beach and the western end of Skeleton Bay
  • Belle Terrace Foreshore Reserve and adjacent foreshore area (between Onetangi Beach and Piemelon Bay)
  • Cable Bay
  • Great Barrier Foreshore Reserve (between Enclosure Bay and Palm Beach)
  • Matarahui Bay
  • Onetangi Beach - westwards of rocky outcrop at western end of beach
  • Opopoto Bay to western end of Onetangi Beach
  • Park Point Walkway
  • Seaview Esplanade Reserve A
  • Te Wharau Bay
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