Stories

Tamariki For Tuna – Longfin Eel Educational Resources

Species: Tuna / Longfin eel / Anguilla eieffenbachii
Location: New Zealand – Endemic
Status: At Risk – Declining
Threats: Habitat loss and degradation, eel fishing, barriers to migration, pollution and high nutrient levels reducing oxygen in water are all threats to survival.
Our work: Habitat restoration and improvement through riparian planting, litter clean ups, monitoring and education.

Tuna kuwharuwharu play an important role in Māori culture and have been studied for many generations to determine life cycles, ages, habitat and migration patterns. Female longfins, as they’re commonly known, reach breeding maturity at anywhere up to 100 years of age. They will then swim to Tonga where they lay millions of eggs before they die. They can grow to be more than 2 metres long making them the largest eel in the world.

The longfin eel is a truly amazing creature and we hope that by using these resources you, your children and/ or students come to love the tuna as much as we do. This eel is endemic to New Zealand and is also our top freshwater predator which makes them extremely important to the biodiversity of our waterways.

Sadly, eel populations are now declining, and they are considered an ‘At Risk’ species. The main cause of the decline has been human activity: pollution, deforestation, hunting, dams and culverts are all threats. The longfin eel sure does have a lot to deal with these days. These resources will help you understand more about these special creatures, their lives, threats and what we can do to help them. Dive right in and enjoy!

Learn more with your tamariki about this amazing species with these downloadable posters and reading exercises.