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Pekapeka-Tou-Roa ~
Long Tailed Bat

(Chalinolobus tuberculatus)

Did you know we have bats in New Zealand? Our long-tailed and short-tailed bats are Aotearoa's only native land mammals!

Our long-tailed bat populations are classified as nationally critical, meaning they are extremely rare, and face extinction if we don't protect them.



Pekapeka are extremely rare, but can potentially be found all around New Zealand, including right here in Marlborough at the Pelorus Bridge Scenic Reserve. Pekapeka are nocturnal, meaning they are active at night and sleep during the day. If you have a keen eye (and are lucky!), you might spot them flying above the tree line or even feeding off insects under a streetlight. Pekapeka fly super-fast - you need to be quick to spot one in the air. You can also use a special bat detector to help pick up the pekapeka's high-frequency echolocation calls into a sound that is audible to humans and can tell us they are nearby!



Image Credit - Science Learning Hub 


Throughout this page you'll find some fun activities and resources you can explore at home with your whānau and friends.

Some of these resources have been put together with the help of our fantastic local organisations.

A huge thank you to those people who have helped put these together for us, we appreciate your support!

Don't forget to share your activities with us, either tag us on social media

or email them to us at


Māori folklore refer associate pekapeka with the mythical, night-flying bird, hōkioi, which foretells death or disaster.

The Pekapeka is even part of the Mataora (full face ta moko). Above the eyebrows on the forehead is the tiwhana, represented by the pekapeka with wings outspread.

I mōhio rānei koe? Did you know? From a Māori worldview, pekapeka (as well as moths, butterflies and cicadas) are considered manu (birds)!


Te Ao


Image Credit -  Community Waitakere 

 Art - Pekapeka Wings

Pekapeka Wings

Test your scientific skills of observation! Have a go at drawing wings on our pekapeka's body. Use the image below or any other image you might find of a pekapeka in flight for reference.

Pekapeka wings PDF.png
Click on the
image to download!

Pekapeka like to live in the hollows of tall, large like old rimus. The pekapeka is rather selective when choosing a roost, they prefer low altitude locations like the bottom of valleys.  You will often find the bats roosts in large groups for warmth.

Their natural habitat is older mature forests. Three-quarters of roost trees identified in the South Island were at least one hundred years old. This is why we need to protect our old growth forests so much!



Image - Creator:  - Science Learning Hub 

CRAFT - KCC Build a Bat

KCC Build a Bat

Head on over to the Kiwi Conservation Club page and have a go at building you very own pekapeka!

Click the image to download the PDF sheet!


& Diet

The pekapeka diet is made up of flying insects, such as moths, midges, mosquitoes and beetles , as well as fruit, pollen and nectar.

Pekapeka will use their mouth to send out a pulse of sound and then listen for that sound to bounce back. When the sound bounces back it paints a picture for the Pekapeka of what is around them - this is called echolocation. These tiny bats use this echolocation to not only to find their way in the dark, but to find and capture their food.


Image -Credit -  Department Of Conservation 

Pekapeka GAMES 

Grab some of your friends or whānua and have a go at these fun Pekapeka games and activites.

Ecolocation Game


Click on the image to the right to head on over to the Kids Greening Taupo website where you can have a go at playing the Ecolocation Game!

This is a fun way to demonstrate how echolocation works and how our native bats find their food. Do you know any other mammal in the world that also uses echolocation?

Click on the image to download the instructions.


If you give this game a go with your class or some friends take a pic or video and share it with us!

Female Pekapekas only give birth to one live offspring a year, meaning their reproduction is very slow. A baby pekapeka is called a pup and is completely flightless for the first 4-6 weeks of life.

Pekapeka pups will be left in the roost with other pups while the mothers head out to hunt and feed. Male pekapeka don't roost with the mothers and pups at all. 

Image Credit - Rob Morris NZ Geographics



ACTIVITY - Test Your Knowledge

Test Your Knowledge - Species Quiz!

Have a go at testing what you have learnt about the Longtailed Bat. Click on the image below to download the quiz as a PDF and draw or write in your answers!

Pekapeka fact sheet.png
Click the image to download the quiz!
Click the Bat to download the answers.


Crazy Facts!

A really neat fact about our native pekapeka is that they don't just fly. They also like to scurry around on all fours on the ground.  The long-tailed bat's wings can fold like origami, tucking them away and using their forearms as front legs. This allows them to move around the forest floor looking for insects, fruit pollen or nectar. Pekapeka, like many of our native species in Aotearoa, evolved to safely move around on the ground as they had few to no threats on the ground until humans began introducing them.


Image Credit - Department Of Conservation 

Other Pekapeka Resources 

Below you will find links to other Pekapeka resources, click the images to take you to the websites. Check them out!

Pekapeka New Zealand Bats

by David Bell


Build a Bat Roosting Box 

Activity by Resene


DOC  - Toyota Kiwi Guardian Activity

Help look after our Longtailed Bats and

become a Backyard Detective!

Although the Toyota Kiwi Guardian programme has now finished and you can no longer claim the medals.

The activates are still a fantastic way for your tamariki to help support our conservation and native species.  


Below is a link to the "Backyard Detective" activity instructions!

Find out what lives in your backyard. Then take action to help protect it.  

Screenshot 2023-02-14 133458.png
Click the image to download a PDF Instruction sheet to learn how to become a Backyard Champion
CKNZ Jnr Pest Control event.jpg
bat from doc website.png

Image Credit - Community Waitakere 

Pekapeka-tou-roa are at risk of extinction due to introduced species like rats, stoats, possums, and cats. These species often feed on the extremely vulnerable young pekapeka pups, as well as the adults. Another threat is Kauri dieback. The loss of large old trees like Kauri that are often 100's of years old, means the loss of habitat and roosts for the pekapeka and many other species out there.




What YOU can do!

There are many ways you can help our Pekapeka to thrive, even in your own backyard. Getting involved in your local pest control and trapping group is one way you can help. Helping to lower the pests that harm our native species, not only helps the Pekapeka but other native species as well.

Another way you can help our Pekapeka is by helping with tree planting. This can go a long way to helping protect our pekapeka and all of our native species.  They need large trees to makes roosts in for their homes. The Te Hoiere Bat Recovery Projects host a tree planting day every year that you can get involved in - follow them on Facebook to see when their next one is - Click the link below

Forest & Bird Te Hoiere Bat Recovery Project 


Image Credit - CKNZ Event, Meika O'Donnell

Visit a Pekapeka

In Marlborough you can go bat spotting at the Pelorus Bridge Scenic Reserve.

The best time of day to see them is right on dusk between December-March each year.

If you keep a keen eye on the treeline and under the streetlights you can spot them feeding on

the bugs in the air. It's truly a magical experience... give it a try!


Pekapeka / Longtailed Bat Gallery 
Images from some of our Pekapeka events

2023 Pekapeka Evening

2020 Ten Year Forest & Bird Te Hoiere
Pekapeka Project Celebration