Invasive species in New Zealand

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Old man's beard smothering a cabbage tree (Cordyline australis) on the Port Hills in Christchurch

A number of introduced species, some of which have become invasive species, have been added to New Zealand's native flora and fauna. Both deliberate and accidental introductions have been made from the time of the first human settlement, with several waves of Polynesian[1] people at some time before the year 1300,[2] followed by Europeans after 1769.[3] Almost without exception,[4] the introduced species have been detrimental to the native flora and fauna but some, such as sheep and cows and the clover upon which they feed, now form a large part of the economy of New Zealand. Registers, lists and indexes of species that are invasive, potentially invasive, or a threat to agriculture or biodiversity are maintained by Biosecurity New Zealand.[5]

A small number of invasive species of New Zealand origin are creating problems in other countries.

Animal species[edit]

Some of the better-known invasive animal species are:

Plant species[edit]

The National Pest Plant Accord, with a listing of about 120 genus, species, hybrids and subspecies, was developed to limit the spread of plant pests. Invasive plants are classified as such on a regional basis with some plants declared as national plant pests. The Department of Conservation also lists 328 vascular plant species as environmental weeds.[8]

Some of the better-known invasive plant species are:

The city of Auckland has been declared to be the weediest city in the world.[9]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Howe, K. R. (2003). The Quest for Origins. p. 179. ISBN 0-14-301857-4. 
  2. ^ New Scientist Webpage: Rat remains help date New Zealand's colonisation. Retrieved 23 June 2008.
  3. ^ Abel Tasman did not land, so is unlikely to have introduced anything.
  4. ^ It has been suggested that the Harrier Hawk may have benefited.
  5. ^ "Registers, List and Indexes". MAF Biosecurity New Zealand. Retrieved 2012-01-22. 
  6. ^
  7. ^ "Management of invasive freshwater fish: striking the right balance!", Department of Conservation, "There will be sites where the Department will want to eradicate salmonids species because they pose a significant threat to the maintenance of a threatened species or ecosystem..."
  8. ^ Howell, Clayson (May 2008). Consolidated list of environmental weeds in New Zealand. DRDS292. Wellington: Department of Conservation. ISBN 978-0-478-14413-0. Retrieved 2009-05-06. 
  9. ^ "Media release: Doctors prescribe attitude change for World’s weediest city". Landcare Research. 23 January 2006. Retrieved 2010-12-16. 

Ford, K., Dawson, M. (2010). Fertility and ability to hybridise in two 'eco-friendly' dwarf cultivars of Agapanthus L'Her. (Amaryllidaceae) in New Zealand. Landcare Research, Lincoln.

Further reading[edit]

External links[edit]