At the end of a long life, longfin eels leave their freshwater homes to journey for thousands of kilometres north through the Pacific to breed somewhere near Fiji. The eggs hatch into transparent leaf-like larvae which drift on ocean currents all the way back to New Zealand. The larvae turn into tiny "glass eels" and begin to swim up rivers and streams. Glass eels become elvers and these small wriggling slender fish continue to swim upstream in shoals until they find a place to call home. Here they stay and grow for many years until heeding the call to breed. Then an almost magical transformation takes place to prepare them for their great sea journey & their heads become streamlined, their eyes turn blue, their bellies turn silver.
The overview from this report has been recently translated into te reo Maori and is available for download to the right of this page.