"He kororā, he tohu oranga: the little penguin is the sign of life".
This whakataukī, that the success of kororā populations indicates the health of the coastal marine environment, underpins John Cockrem's work.
The professor of comparative endocrinology in the School of Veterinary Science at Massey University monitors nestbox colony study sites at Napier Port, Port Tarakohe in Golden Bay and Mana Island off the Porirua coast.
The studies of breeding success and foraging of kororā provide insight into what is happening out at sea.
He's witnessing first hand the threats that dog predation, plastic pollution and climate change related food shortages are having on Kororā.