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SEA LIFE Kelly Tarlton's Aquarium

23 Tamaki Drive, Ōrākei

Auckland 1071

New Zealand

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Tuatara

Discover the Tuatara

New Zealand's dinosaur

Tuatara are considered a Taonga (treasure) to the Maori people. In order for the Tuatara to be on display, Sea Life Kelly Tarlton’s worked with the local tribe to gain permission from another Maori tribe to display the animals. These Tuatara are part of an existing successful breeding programme, which helps re-introduce them back into the wild and, they will play an important role in advocacy for the species.


Tuatara are the only surviving members of the order Sphenodontia (fancy word for lizard-like reptiles), which was well represented by many species during the age of the dinosaurs, some 200 million years ago. All species except for the tuatara eventually became extinct about 60 million years ago.