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Case studies

Rena oil spill

The Rena container ship hit the Astrolabe Reef off the city of Tauranga in 2011. The resulting oil spill affected hundreds of local wildlife and instigated a nationwide response. 

Napier port spill

In early 2011 a small oil spill occurred at the port of Napier. A hose failure on a crane caused around 500 litres of automatic transmission fluid to leach into the port waters.

Whio, native New Zealand blue duck

Whio threatened

In September 2013 a diesel spill occurred on the Turoa skifield when a tank leaked at the Ruapehu alpine lifts. The spill threatened the native whio.

Mutiara II Diesel Spill

Although not on the same scale as the Rena, the diesel spill from the fishing vessel Mutiara II still put local wildlife at risk, again mainly the little blue penguin population.

Stewart Island spill

In April 2013, the ‘Sureste 700’ hit rocks. An estimated 3000 litres of diesel leaked in Foveaux Strait, raising concerns for the nearby Ulva Island and Te Wharawhara Marine Reserve.

Prion release

Prion wreck

In 2011 one of the largest storm wrecks of prions ever recorded saw hundreds of these small pelagic seabirds prevented from feeding or resting on the sea surface by a massive storm.

New Zealand Dotterel

Dotterel capture

In an effort to prevent dotterels from being impacted by the Rena oil spill, an unusual pre-emptive capture of the rare birds took place.

Albatross release


A shy albatross was found in a emaciated state in early 2013.

The bird was taken to Wildbase Hospital and treated for anaemia, dehydration and starvation.