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Hector's dolphins at Porpoise Bay, in the Catlins

Prior to human settlement, the mammals of New Zealand consisted entirely of several species of bat, and several dozen marine mammal species. Far earlier, during the Miocene, at least one "archaic" terrestrial mammal species is known to have existed, the Saint Bathans mammal. The Māori brought the kurī ( Polynesian Dog) and kiore ( Polynesian rat) in about 1250 CE, [1] and Europeans from 1769 onwards brought the pig, mice, two additional species of rats, weasels, stoats, ferrets and possums and many other species, some of which cause conservation problems for indigenous species.

Indigenous species

Conservation status

The Department of Conservation rank priorities for conservation with the New Zealand Threat Classification System.

Introduced species

The Māori introduced two species: the kurī (dog) and kiore (Polynesian rat). European settlers introduced all other mammal species.

Mammals introduced by Europeans
Species year of introduction [4] Further information
Red-necked wallaby
Black rat
Cat as early as 1820 Cats in New Zealand
Cattle 1814
Chamois 1907
Common brushtail possum 1837 Common brushtail possum in New Zealand
Tammar wallaby
Elk (wapiti)
European hare 1851
European hedgehog 1870 European hedgehog in New Zealand
European fallow deer 1864
Ferret 1879
Goat late 1700s
Himalayan tahr
House mouse
Kiore 1250
Kurī 1250
Least weasel
Moose 1900, 1910 Moose - New Zealand
Brown rat 1800s
Rabbit 1838
Red deer from 1851
Sambar deer 1875-76
Sheep 1773
Stoat Stoats in New Zealand
White-tailed deer
Wild boar 1773

See also


  1. ^ Lowe, David J. (November 2008). "Polynesian settlement of New Zealand and the impacts of volcanism on early Maori society: an update" (PDF). Guidebook for Pre-conference North Island Field Trip A1 'Ashes and Issues': 142. ISBN  978-0-473-14476-0. Retrieved 2010-01-18.
  2. ^ Gill, B.J. (2002). "Records of Bats (Mammalia: Chiroptera) From Late Holocene Dune-Sands at Te Werahi Beach, Nprthland, New Zealand". Records of the Auckland Museum. 39: 45–47. ISSN  1174-9202.
  3. ^ Worthy, Trevor; Hand, SJ; Worthy, TH; Archer, M; Worthy, JP; Tennyson, AJD; Scofield, RP (2013). "Miocene mystacinids (Chiroptera, Noctilionoidea) indicate a long history for endemic bats in New Zealand". Journal of Vertebrate Paleontology 33 (6): 1442-1448.
  4. ^ King, Carolyn M. (1985). Immigrant Killers: Introduced Predators and the Conservation of Birds in New Zealand. Auckland: Oxford University Press. ISBN  978-0-19-558115-7.

Further reading

  • King, Carolyn M. (1995). The Handbook of New Zealand Mammals. Oxford University Press, USA. ISBN  0-19-558320-5.