NZ Marine Mammal Species Definition

What is classified as a whale under New Zealand regulations?


Whale Watch Kaikōura holds a valid Marine Mammal Permit that allows us to carry on a commercial operation to view marine mammals.

All Whale Watch Kaikōura interactions with marine mammals are governed by the Marine Mammal Protection Regulations of 1992 administered by the New Zealand Department of Conservation.

These regulations ensure that the marine mammals of New Zealand are protected and that their conservation is a top priority.

Under the New Zealand Marine Mammals Protection Regulations 1992 which governs all our interactions with marine mammals.

Whale means -

All species commonly known as whales; and includes baleen whales, sperm whales, beaked whales, killer whales, and pilot whales.

Dolphin means - 

All species commonly known as dolphins; and includes dusky dolphins, common dolphins, bottlenose dolphins, and Hector’s dolphins; but

Does not include the species known as killer whales and pilot whales.


We are undertaking a number of building renovations at our Whaleway Station terminal to improve the visitor experience. 

  • Our main entry point to the building is closed for renovations and enlargement, access into the building is via the seafront side of the building (this is sign posted)
  • Our public toilets are closed for renovation and enlargement, we currently have portaloo's available (these are sign posted)

We apologies for any inconvenience caused by these building renovations.