Butterfly Breeding Guide

Bring back native butterflies to your garden, and beyond!

Aerial spraying, wasp predation and habitat loss has crippled the population of our native butterflies, however butterfly enthusiasts are bringing back butterflies to our cities through planting and pest-control efforts.

New Zealand has 20 native species of butterfly although new research is indicating that there could be considerably more.

And while many of them are still fairly widespread in natural areas, their numbers are declining due to elimination of their larval food plants which are often seen as weeds.

Many of these plants have been lost to aerial spraying for insect pests in the 80s and 90s. Admiral and copper butterfly populations have been hit particularly hard, and have declined especially in urban and modified areas. 

In response, projects aimed at reintroducing them have gained enthusiasm, especially amongst older generations who remember the butterflies they used to see as children, and want to make that memory a reality for their children and grandchildren.

To learn more about our native butterflies and to discover what you can do to bring them back, read on.

Native NZ Butterflies

This section profiles some of our most threatened native butterflies, and gives you a simple guide to help identify them.


Planting Guide

By planting larval food plants and nectar-plants for butterflies, you can cater for the needs of your butterflies throughout their various life-stages. 


Projects in Auckland

A handful of gardens, parks and schools have created butterfly friendly areas so that native butterflies can thrive. To find out more about these projects read on.



Habitat destruction and parasitic wasps are two of the key threats to our native butterflies. Find out how you can help combat these two threats.



To download this guide click here