New home for world's smallest penguins

23:30, Mar 01 2012
Little Penguins
MOVING HOUSE: A new outdoor home in Napier will house up to 20 Little Penguins.

A group of Little Penguins will soon be living a life of luxury in their new home fit with swimming pool, sandy beaches, driftwood and nesting burrows.

The Little Penguins, formally known as Blue Penguins, are being rehomed from Marineland and will move into their new pad at Napier's National Aquarium of New Zealand in October.

The world's smallest penguin, with slate-blue plumage and a bright white belly, Little Penguins stand just over 25cm and weigh around 1kg.

Aquarium manager Rob Yarrall said work had started on the new outdoor home which would house up to 20 penguins. It will replicate their natural habitat and beach environment as much as possible.

Built at the southern end of the Aquarium, the penguin home will also include nesting boxes and burrows, dunes and sand mounds.

''We have been working closely with the Zoo and Aquarium Association and the Department of Conservation to ensure the penguins new home meets stringent standards and ticks all the boxes of the permitting process,'' he said.

While the penguins were found locally, the population and range of Little Penguins had been declining in areas not protected from predators, Yarrall said.