What is a P.E.A.P.?

P.E.A.P.s are a big part of what we do at KORI, but what are they exactly, and what happens on an average P.E.A.P.?

Well, P.E.A.P. is short for Penguin Education and Awareness Programme, and the name is a real give away for what this initiative aims to achieve.

2 more chicks in nest box watermarked
Depending when people visit, they may see penguins moulting, incubating eggs, or raising chicks.

While most people have heard about the sperm whales and dolphin populations that call Kaikōura home, far fewer know about the little blue penguins who live beneath the South Bay coastguard building.

The future of this colony is far from secure (only 11 breeding pairs were recorded in the 2017-18 breeding season) but these birds are fighters.

At KORI we want to see this colony flourish, and the numbers increase. We believe that educating people about Kaikōura’s little blues, and the threats that face them, is an important part step towards this goal.

little blue chick watermarked.jpg
Both parents are involved in raising chicks, taking turns to guard it while the other hunts for food on the open ocean.

The average P.E.A.P. looks a bit like this:

  • Arrival: Visitors arrive late in the evening as the penguins only leave the ocean around sunset, following a day’s fishing.
  • Presentation: Before going to see the penguins, a KORI volunteer gives a short presentation, this includes:
    • An introduction to New Zealand’s penguin species.
    • The life cycle of little blue penguins.
    • The Kaikōura colony, and the threats facing it.
    • An opportunity for visitors to ask questions.
  • Viewing the penguins: After the presentation, the group is taken beneath the Coastguard building to KORI’s purpose-built viewing area. Here the visitors watch the penguins return to their purpose-built-nest-boxes from behind a screen. This allows for great views of the birds, with absolutely minimal disturbance to their natural behaviour.

The use of our infra-red nest-box cam even allows views into the boxes to watch the frenzy that occurs when adults bring home food to the chicks – if you thought your kids got stroppy when they haven’t eaten for a while, prepare to think again!

Depending what time of year visitors come, they might see penguins moulting, coming in for the night, incubating eggs or raising chicks – the experience is never the same twice!

We run P.E.A.P.s for locals, tourists and even during the day for local school groups.

No matter who we’re talking to, we hope they leave with a new appreciation for these amazing birds, and an understanding of the small steps they can take in their daily lives to help protect them for years to come!

For more information on our P.E.A.P.s, volunteering, or to find out when the next one is happening, get in touch with us!