Rena Oil Spill

On October 5, in 2011 the container ship Rena struck the Astrolabe Reef off the coast of Tauranga, spilling 360 tonnes of oil into the sea.

This coastline is home to a rich array of seabirds, shorebirds, whales, dolphins and fur seals. The effect on the surrounding wildlife will no doubt be devastating - and will last for years to come, as the oil spreads throughout the food web. 

In this section, we outline some of the wildlife that can be found in this area,  the effects on the individual species and how you can help.


Bay of Plenty Shorebird Protection Programme

Forest & Bird is developing a Bay of Plenty Shorebird Protection Programme which will help coastal birds, such as our endangered NZ dotterels, white fronted terns and oystercatchers.


Volunteer Profiles

Hundreds of Forest & Bird volunteers worked following the oil spill cleaning oil from the beaches, rehabilitating wildlife and protecting the surrounding areas from further damage.

Read our volunteer profiles to find out about the successes and challenges they faced during the clean-up.



What you can do to help

If you would like to help in the clean-up register your interest with Maritime New Zealand .

If you are interested in joining Forest & Bird to help in the wider task of helping our threatened wildlife in the area, see here. 

Seabirds: How they're affected

Seabirds can suffer from all number of ailments if they become coated in oil, or if they swallow small amounts of oil while feeding. Of great concern is the fact that many seabirds are nursing chicks currently so any adult deaths can have knock-on effects as chicks are left to starve on the shore.


Marine mammals and fish: how they're affected

NZ fur seals, bottlenose dolphins, orcas, beaked whales, blue whales and migratory baleen whales are just some of the creatures that may be affected by the oil spill. Contamination can cause problems with swimming, breathing, feeding and insulation.  


Picture slideshow

Hundreds of Forest & Bird volunteers have helped in the clean-up. In this slideshow you can see some of the work happening on the ground to clean up the shoreline and wildlife that have been affected by this major oil spill.